Hamilton heads Rosberg by 0.5s in FP3

© XPB 

Lewis Hamilton hit back against Nico Rosberg ahead of qualifying for the Belgian Grand Prix by finishing the final practice session half a second clear.

Rosberg had been fastest in both sessions on Friday as he appeared to have the upper hand over his team-mate, but Hamilton responded by comfortably topping the times in FP3 with a 1:48.984. Rosberg was second but just 0.15s clear of Sebastian Vettel's Ferrari.

A difference in set-up was clear from the quickest times as Vettel was faster than the Mercedes in the first and third sectors - which are predominantly spent at full throttle - while the Mercedes pair were comfortably quickest in the middle sector which requires more downforce.

Kimi Raikkonen was fourth in the second Ferrari ahead of Sergio Perez, with Force India following Ferrari's lead as Perez actually set the fastest final sector of the session. Daniel Ricciardo was sixth and Daniil Kvyat seventh as Red Bull remained competitive, with both cars within a second of Hamilton.

Nico Hulkeneberg finished the session eighth ahead of the Williams pair of Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa. Bottas said on Friday evening he expected Williams to be "much higher" on the timesheets and while there was a clear improvement overnight, the Finn's best time was still 1.2s adrift of top spot.

With Fernando Alonso handed a 30-place grid penalty on Friday and Jenson Button facing a drop of 25 places, McLaren took new power units ahead of FP3 which will again result in penalties. While certain to start from the back of the grid, the team still had another frustrating session as Alonso completed one solitary installation lap before being confined to the garage with an exhaust issue, while Button was three seconds off the pace.

After two red-flag interrupted sessions on Friday, Saturday morning was a more serene affair with Raikkonen taking a brief excursion through the gravel having been out of shape through Turn 13. Romain Grosjean had a spin at the final chicane having overtaken Roberto Merhi under braking, with Merhi himself having had a similar spin early in the session.

FP3 also saw modifications made to the kerbs at La Source and Eau Rouge, with the apex kerb at the top of Radillon removed following discussions during last night's driver's briefing.

Click here for a gallery of the biggest crashes at Spa-Francorchamps 

Keep up to date with all the F1 news via Facebook and Twitter

01Lewis HamiltonMercedes1:48.98415
02Nico RosbergMercedes1:49.48219
03Sebastian VettelFerrari1:49.62917
04Kimi RaikkonenFerrari1:49.86419
05Sergio PerezForce India1:49.86615
06Daniel RicciardoRed Bull1:49.93020
07Daniil KvyatRed Bull1:49.98019
08Nico HulkenbergForce India1:50.00015
09Valtteri BottasWilliams1:50.17915
10Felipe MassaWilliams1:50.44715
11Carlos SainzToro Rosso1:50.55220
12Pastor MaldonadoLotus1:50.58517
13Max VerstappenToro Rosso1:50.59921
14Felipe NasrSauber1:50.69017
15Marcus EricssonSauber1:51.05420
16Romain GrosjeanLotus1:51.18718
17Jenson ButtonMcLaren1:51.98112
18Will StevensManor1:54.26216
19Roberto MerhiManor1:54.2819
20Fernando AlonsoMcLaren1