FP3: Hamilton lays down new Sochi lap record

Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton put down a blistering 1:33.067, a new lap record, to top a Mercedes 1-2 ahead of qualifying for the Russian GP.

Conditions were near perfect as the Formula 1 drivers took to the Sochi Autodrom for the start of final practice on Saturday.

F1’s only Russian driver – at least for now as Toro Rosso have re-signed Daniil Kvyat for next season – Sergey Sirokin got proceedings underway with a 1:37.704.

Ferrari held down the early 1-2 as Sebastian Vettel, who struggled a bit on Friday afternoon, posted a 1:33.859 to sit 0.4s ahead of Kimi Raikkonen.

The duo, though, soon dropped down the order as Mercedes went 1-2 with Lewis Hamilton two-tenths up on Valtteri Bottas.

Mercedes and Ferrari engaged in a tussle over P1 as all four drivers spent time up in P1.

Hamilton led the way halfway through practice with a 1:33.644. That put him 0.145s up on Bottas.

Ahead of a second run both Ferrari SF71H’s underwent several changes to the rear suspension of the car.

Despite that Vettel had a nightmare first hot lap out of the pits as he ran wide several times before aborting his lap.

Hamilton, meanwhile, lowered the benchmark time to a 1:33.067 – a new track record.

That ensured he finished FP3 at the top of the timesheet, 0.245s up on Bottas. Vettel was third but a massive 0.6s down.

Vettel’s session ended with the German parked at the end of the pit lane as Ferrari miss-timed a run, sending him out for a final lap only for the red light to come on.

Raikkonen was fourth fastest for Ferrari ahead of the Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo.

Charles Leclerc was best of the rest with Esteban Ocon, Kevin Magnussen and Sergio Perez completing the top ten.

Times
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:33.067
2 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 0.254s
3 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 0.6s
4 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 0.621s
5 Max Verstappen Red Bull 0.87s
6 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1.327s
7 Charles Leclerc Sauber 1.561s 15
8 Esteban Ocon Force India 1.742s
9 Kevin Magnussen Haas 1.753s
10 Sergio Perez Force India 1.849s
11 Carlos Sainz Renault 1.921s
12 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso 2.058s
13 Romain Grosjean Haas 2.118s
14 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 2.146s
15 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 2.303s
16 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso 2.966s
17 Sergey Sirotkin Williams 3.004s
18 Lance Stroll Williams 3.207s
19 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren 3.53s
20 Fernando Alonso McLaren 3.925s

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