Mercedes and Hamilton fastest in final free practice session

© XPB 

Lewis Hamilton topped the final free practice timesheet in Abu Dhabi, clocking in with a new lap record as he edged out team mate Valtteri Bottas and Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen.

Yas Marina was predictably basking in the sun as drivers took to the track for the final dress rehearsal before this afternoon's qualifying session.

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix - Free Practice 3 results

1Lewis HamiltonMercedes1:37.627s19
2Valtteri BottasMercedes1:37.900s+ 0.273s21
3Kimi RäikkönenFerrari1:38.157s+ 0.530s22
4Sebastian VettelFerrari1:38.174s+ 0.547s22
5Daniel RicciardoRed Bull1:38.340s+ 0.713s16
6Max VerstappenRed Bull1:38.587s+ 0.960s14
7Fernando AlonsoMcLaren1:39.155s+ 1.528s15
8Stoffel VandoorneMcLaren1:39.277s+ 1.650s18
9Carlos SainzRenault1:39.340s+ 1.713s15
10Sergio PérezForce India1:39.367s+ 1.740s19
11Felipe MassaWilliams1:39.383s+ 1.756s16
12Nico HülkenbergRenault1:39.396s+ 1.769s18
13Esteban OconForce India1:39.500s+ 1.873s18
14Kevin MagnussenHaas1:39.831s+ 2.204s19
15Romain GrosjeanHaas1:40.079s+ 2.452s19
16Pascal WehrleinSauber1:40.307s+ 2.680s20
17Lance StrollWilliams1:40.572s+ 2.945s16
18Pierre GaslyToro Rosso1:40.737s+ 3.110s21
19Marcus EricssonSauber1:40.789s+ 3.162s21
20Brendon HartleyToro Rosso1:40.883s+ 3.256s23

Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel traded places at the top of the timesheets yesterday and the Ferrari driver was the first man out, although for just an installation lap.

McLaren's Stoffel Vandoorne set the first time, the McLaren driver running on Pirelli's ultrasoft tyres, but running well off yesterday's fastest free practice lap.

The Belgian was quickly replaced at the top by Mercedes' Bottas, only for the Finn to see himself pushed down by his team mate.

Half-way through the session however, everyone headed to the pits from a brief respite when the yellow flags came out to allow the lcoal marshals to deal with a parasol blown on to the track.

Raikkonen fired in a new fastest lap, but Hamilton would have none of it, promptly taking back the top spot after a blindingly fast last sector. An effort which yielded a new lap record in 1m37.627s.

After enduring a moment on the astro-turf as he tried to play catch-up, Bottas posted a time good for P2, 0.273s adrift from Hamilton.

Red Bull Racing kept a relatively low profile, with both Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen ending the session behind both Mercedes and Ferrari drivers, with the Dutch driver in particular complaining about his mount's behaviour.

The last 60-minute run of the season concluded with Hamilton at the top, but the Briton is likely to be challenged later today by his front-running rivals as qualifying shall be run in cooler and likely less windy conditions.

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