Bottas takes charge in FP3 ahead of exciting Baku qualy

©WRI2

Valtteri Bottas put Mercedes back in charge in Baku, setting the fastest time in FP3 before this afternoon's highly-anticipated qualifying session.

The German outfit ran at the front of the pack for most of the one-hour session, with Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen splitting the Silver Arrows at the end.

Bottas clocked in with a 1:42.742, just edging out his fellow countryman who enjoyed  a  1:42.837 lap. Hamilton was third with 1:43.158.

Red Bull partly sustained its Friday momentum, remaining in the hunt for pole with Daniel Ricciardo in fourth place, just a tenth behind Hamilton.

Force India's Esteban Ocon was an unassuming fifth, just ahead of Max Verstappen.

The Dutchman's session ended early following an engine issue. The Red Bull driver complained at one point about a power cut-out to which his engineer responded with a settings change.

To no avail unfortunately as Verstappen eventually pulled off the track with ten minutes remaining.

A loss of hydraulic pressure also sidelined Sebastian Vettel early on but Ferrari was not expecting the problem to persist in the all-important qualy.

It was another wretched session for Renault's Jolyon Palmer when his car developed a fire early on, forcing him out of free practice. 

Massa, Kvyat, Stroll and Perez rounded off the top ten.

Free practice 3 results

Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:42.742s 21
2 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:42.837s + 0.095s 14
3 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:43.158s + 0.416s 23
4 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:43.287s + 0.545s 24
5 Esteban Ocon Force India 1:43.344s + 0.602s 21
6 Max Verstappen Red Bull 1:43.614s + 0.872s 16
7 Felipe Massa Williams 1:43.738s + 0.996s 18
8 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1:43.908s + 1.166s 21
9 Lance Stroll Williams 1:44.040s + 1.298s 17
10 Sergio Pérez Force India 1:44.138s + 1.396s 22
11 Nico Hülkenberg Renault 1:44.312s + 1.570s 16
12 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:44.344s + 1.602s 7
13 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso 1:44.401s + 1.659s 23
14 Fernando Alonso McLaren 1:44.741s + 1.999s 18
15 Kevin Magnussen Haas 1:44.926s + 2.184s 20
16 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren 1:45.143s + 2.401s 17
17 Romain Grosjean Haas 1:45.491s + 2.749s 20
18 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 1:45.645s + 2.903s 21
19 Pascal Wehrlein Sauber 1:45.722s + 2.980s 19
20 Jolyon Palmer Renault 1:53.040s + 10.298s 4

 

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