Hartley in massive shunt as Hamilton leads Mercedes 1-2 in FP3

© XPB 

Lewis Hamilton will start this afternoon's qualifying session for the Spanish Grand Prix as the outright favourite after leading team mate Valtteri Bottas in the third free practice session.

Hamilton clocked in with a lap in 1m17.281s, edging out Bottas by 0.013s, and the Ferrari duo of Senastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen, by 0.269s and 0.300s respectively.

Spanish Grand Prix - Free Practice 3

Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:17.281s 15
2 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:17.294s + 0.013s 19
3 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:17.550s + 0.269s 16
4 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:17.581s + 0.300s 17
5 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:17.981s + 0.700s 16
6 Kevin Magnussen Haas 1:18.357s + 1.076s 15
7 Romain Grosjean Haas 1:18.706s + 1.425s 16
8 Carlos Sainz Renault 1:18.783s + 1.502s 16
9 Fernando Alonso McLaren 1:18.847s + 1.566s 14
10 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso 1:18.886s + 1.605s 17
11 Nico Hülkenberg Renault 1:18.905s + 1.624s 16
12 Max Verstappen Red Bull 1:19.013s + 1.732s 5
13 Esteban Ocon Force India 1:19.121s + 1.840s 20
14 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren 1:19.236s + 1.955s 17
15 Charles Leclerc Sauber 1:19.292s + 2.011s 19
16 Sergio Pérez Force India 1:19.376s + 2.095s 17
17 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso 1:19.428s + 2.147s 23
18 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 1:19.744s + 2.463s 17
19 Lance Stroll Williams 1:19.900s + 2.619s 15
20 Sergey Sirotkin Williams 1:19.909s + 2.628s 13

The majority of the runners headed out on Pirelli's supersoft tyre as teams limit their use of the better suited yellow soft compound.

Toro Rosso's Brendon Hartley was the first driver to put a proper time on the board, clocking in with a 1m20.486s lap, but the Aussie admitted the tight final sector was taking its toll on his rear tyres, a common problem at the Circuit de Catalunya.

Hartley's lap was quickly outdone by Bottas before Vettel and then Hamilton sprung to the front. Undeterred, the Finn, with his soft-shod Mercedes, moved back to the top, getting himself into the 1m17s where he was joined by Hamilton.

Meanwhile, the Red Bull duo of Ricciardo and Verstappen were lapping on the medium compound, perhaps an important tyre in terms of race strategy for tomorrow.

Both Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen were quickly up to speed, putting themselves once again in contention for 'best of the rest' honours for this afternoon.

The yellow flag was brought out a little after the half point of the session when Lance Stroll veered his Williams off the track at Turn 4.

Ricciardo also endured a brief off at Turn 13, but Verstappen's session came to a premature end following an electrical issue on his RB14.

With just a few minutes to go, Brendon Hartley was the victim of a big shunt, clipping the grass on the outside at Turn 9 before heading to the barriers. The Toro Rosso driver, fortunately unhurt, confessed to the error but was clearly shaken by the massive whack.

The mishap will also likely sideline the Kiwi for this afternoon's qualifying session as his mount looked badly bruised by the heavy impact and beyond immediate repair.

The session thus concluded with a Mercedes 1-2 on the cards, nicely setting up the Silver Arrows outfit for the gird-defining session.

Gallery: The beautiful wives and girlfriends of F1 drivers

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