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FP3: Hamilton leads Mercedes 1-2

  • Published on 29 Sep 2018 12:00
  • comments 0
  • By: Fergal Walsh

Lewis Hamilton topped the final practice session in Sochi, as Mercedes still appears to be well clear of rivals Ferrar. Hamilton's fast lap was a 1:33.067, which stands as a new track record around the Sochi Autodrom.

Hamilton headed his teammate Valtteri Bottas, while Sebastian Vettel was six-tenths of a second adrift of Hamilton. The Silver Arrows have dominated the Russian event since it arrived on the calendar in 2014, remaining unbeaten around the former Winter Olympics venue.

Kimi Raikkonen was fourth, but was held up by a Force India as he closed his lap, which cost him time. Max Verstappen followed the Iceman, while his teammate Daniel Ricciardo came home in P6.

Vettel was forced to push his Ferrari back up the pitlane at the end of the session as the red light was shown as he made his way to do a practice start. The German was forced to slam on the brakes to avoid re-joining the track when the session had ended, which would have resulted in a penalty.

Charles Leclerc put in an impressive display by slotting his Sauber into seventh. The Ferrari bound driver will be looking to make an impression this weekend as he makes a case to justify his promotion to the Scuderia outfit for 2019.

Esteban Ocon was eighth, ahead of Kevin Magnussen in the Haas. Sergio Perez rounded out the top ten in the second Force India, who will be aiming to climb further up the constructor's table this weekend.

The traffic was heavy throughout the session, with many drivers being held up on their fast laps. Romain Grosjean suffered from a spin late on, but managed to finish in P13, behind the Toro Rosso of Pierre Gasly and the Renault of Carlos Sainz.

Nico Hulkenberg was P14, leading the Sauber of Marcus Ericsson. The Swede entered the weekend knowing that he would not be racing in F1 next year, having lost his seat to Ferrari junior Antonio Giovinazzi.

Brendon Hartley was next, while McLaren and Williams filled out the final four positions, all but confirming that they are both in for a tricky qualifying and race.

RU Sochi Autodrom - 29 September 2018

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  • Team Red Bull Racing
  • Points 1,893
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  • Country NL
  • Date of b. Sep 30 1997 (25)
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