FP3: Hamilton grabs the advantage

Lewis Hamilton put an end to Nico Rosberg's practice reign on Saturday as he beat his team-mate to P1 in final practice for the Belgian GP.

Although it was Rosberg who set the pace in both Friday sessions, Hamilton came to the fore in the build-up to qualifying.

On a warm sunny day at Spa, he swapped to the soft Pirelli tyres in the final 10 minutes and posted a 1:48.984. That time put the Championship leader 0.498s up on his Mercedes team-mate.

Behind the Brackley duo it was a closely-fought contest to be best of the rest.

Sebastian Vettel took that with a 1:49.6299, which meant he was just 0.645s slower than Hamilton. However, perhaps more to the point, the Ferrari driver was one of six to get within a second of the P1 time.

Kimi Raikkonen finished the session in fourth place ahead of Sergio Perez, Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat. The Red Bull drivers made the move over to the softs early in the session, giving them more time to focus on race-pace later in the session.

Although the drivers managed to avoid any repeats of yesterday's crashes there were several incidents.

Raikkonen snapped and had an off at the gravel at Les Fanges; Romain Grosjean spun at the Bus Stop; Pastor Maldonado had a moment at Rivage while Roberto Merhi had an early spin at the Bus Stop.

Fernando Alonso did not set a time as he had an exhaust issue.

Times
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:48.984 15 laps
2 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:49.482 +0.498 19 laps
3 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:49.629 0.645 17 laps
4 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:49.864 0.880 19 laps
5 Sergio Perez Force India 1:49.866 0.882 15 laps
6 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:49.930 0.946 20 laps
7 Daniil Kvyat Red Bull 1:49.980 0.996 19 laps
8 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1:50.000 1.016 15 laps
9 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:50.179 1.195 15 laps
10 Felipe Massa Williams 1:50.447 1.463 15 laps
11 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso 1:50.552 1.568 21 laps
12 Pastor Maldonado Lotus 1:50.585 1.601 17 laps
13 Max Verstappen Toro Rosso 1:50.599 1.615 22 laps
14 Felipe Nasr Sauber 1:50.690 1.706 17 laps
15 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 1:51.054 2.070 20 laps
16 Romain Grosjean Lotus 1:51.187 2.203 18 laps
17 Jenson Button McLaren 1:51.981 2.997 12 laps
18 Will Stevens Manor 1:54.262 5.278 16 laps
19 Roberto Merhi Manor 1:54.281 5.297 9 laps
20 Fernando Alonso McLaren No time 2 laps

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