Hamilton and Mercedes make it a clean sweep with fastest in FP3

Hamilton and Mercedes make it a clean sweep with fastest in FP3

Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes remained on top in the final practice session ahead of qualifying in Bahrain, as Nico Rosberg makes it a third 1-2 from three sessions for the Brackley-based outfit around the Bahrain International Circuit.

Lewis_Hamilton_FP1

Hamilton, fastest in both practice sessions on Friday, shot to the top of the time sheets in the final hour-long practice ahead of qualifying for Sunday’s Grand Prix, with a best lap of 1:35.324 on the soft Pirelli tyres, edging out his Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg by a tenth of a second, while Sergio Perez rounded out the top three for Force India.

Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa were fourth and fifth for Williams, the team once again opting for just two short runs, the duo completing just eight laps a piece. Despite this, the two had been the Mercedes pair’s closest challengers on the medium tyre, only falling behind Perez after an impressive lap on the soft tyre from the Mexican.

Jenson Button was sixth for McLaren, three hundredths shy of Massa, with the British team still hopeful of replicating their Melbourne form here in Bahrain this weekend.

Fernando Alonso was seventh, the fastest non-Mercedes powered car in the field, the Spaniard edging out Nico Hulkenberg’s Force India by a mere thousandth of a second, while Daniil Kvyat and Kimi Raikkonen closed out the top 10 for Toro Rosso and Ferrari.

Sebastian Vettel ended his practice session prematurely, following an uncharacteristic off from the four time world champion at turn two with 20 minutes to go, which confined him to 21st overall, having failed to set a quick lap on the soft tyres.

Lotus had another miserable afternoon, with Pastor Maldonado and Romain Grosjean able to muster no better than 18th and 20th fastest overall, the pair were in fact outpaced by both Kamui Kobayashi and Jules Bianchi in the Caterham and Marussia respectively.

Lots of drivers were caught out by the crosswind at turn 11 during the hour long session, with Maldonando, Vettel, Hulkenberg, and even the Mercedes pair of Rosberg and Hamilton all being caught out, and forced to run wide into the fast sweeping left hander at the end of the back straight.

Images courtesy of Pirelli Media and Mercedes AMG PETRONAS

Free Practice Three – Classification

1. Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes – 1:35.324 – 12 laps

2. Nico Rosberg – Mercedes – 1:35.439  +0.115 – 12 laps

3. Sergio Perez – Force India-Mercedes – 1:35.868  +0.544 – 10 laps

4. Valtteri Bottas – Williams-Mercedes – 1:36.116  +0.792 – 10 laps

5. Felipe Massa – Williams-Mercedes – 1:36.364  +1.040 – 8 laps

6. Jenson Button – McLaren-Mercedes – 1:36.394  +1.070 – 8 laps

7. Fernando Alonso – Ferrari – 1:36.454  +1.130 – 12 laps

8. Nico Hulkenberg – Force India-Mercedes – 1:36.455  +1.131 – 11 laps

9. Daniil Kvyat – Toro Rosso-Renault – 1:36.680  +1.356 – 16 laps

10. Kimi Raikkonen – Ferrari – 1:36.772  +1.448 – 13 laps

11. Kevin Magnussen – McLaren-Mercedes – 1:36.822  +1.498 – 8 laps

12. Jean-Eric Vergne – Toro Rosso-Renault – 1:37.030  +1.706 – 11 laps

13. Daniel Ricciardo – Red Bull-Renault – 1:37.119  +1.795 – 11 laps

14. Esteban Gutierrez – Sauber-Ferrari – 1:37.325  +2.001 – 18 laps

15. Adrian Sutil – Sauber-Ferrari – 1:38.089  +2.765 – 24 laps

16. Kamui Kobayashi – Caterham-Renault – 1:38.400  +3.076 – 17 laps

17. Jules Bianchi – Marussia-Ferrari – 1:38.736  +3.412 – 15 laps

18. Pastor Maldonado – Lotus-Renault  – 1:38.880  +3.556 – 21 laps

19. Marcus Ericsson – Caterham-Renault – 1:38.971  +3.647 – 18 laps

20. Romain Grosjean – Lotus-Renault – 1:39.208  +3.884 – 17 laps

21. Sebastian Vettel – Red Bull-Renault – 1:39.225  +3.901 – 8 laps

22. Max Chilton – Marussia-Ferrari – 1:39.597  +4.273 – 14 laps

Dan Paddock

Dan Paddock

Dan Paddock is an FIA accredited freelance motorsport and Formula 1 journalist and the recently appointed Grand Prix Editor of Richland F1. Dan joined the site in July of last year as a Staff Writer, fresh off the back of completing a master’s degree in journalism. He has since gone on to represent Richland F1 at the 2014 British Grand Prix, his debut in the Formula 1 paddock. Aside from Richland F1, Dan also writes for Rumble Strip News, as well as maintaing his own modest blog.