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

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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

1Lewis HamiltonMercedes1:17.281s15
2Valtteri BottasMercedes1:17.294s+ 0.013s19
3Sebastian VettelFerrari1:17.550s+ 0.269s16
4Kimi RäikkönenFerrari1:17.581s+ 0.300s17
5Daniel RicciardoRed Bull1:17.981s+ 0.700s16
6Kevin MagnussenHaas1:18.357s+ 1.076s15
7Romain GrosjeanHaas1:18.706s+ 1.425s16
8Carlos SainzRenault1:18.783s+ 1.502s16
9Fernando AlonsoMcLaren1:18.847s+ 1.566s14
10Pierre GaslyToro Rosso1:18.886s+ 1.605s17
11Nico HülkenbergRenault1:18.905s+ 1.624s16
12Max VerstappenRed Bull1:19.013s+ 1.732s5
13Esteban OconForce India1:19.121s+ 1.840s20
14Stoffel VandoorneMcLaren1:19.236s+ 1.955s17
15Charles LeclercSauber1:19.292s+ 2.011s19
16Sergio PérezForce India1:19.376s+ 2.095s17
17Brendon HartleyToro Rosso1:19.428s+ 2.147s23
18Marcus EricssonSauber1:19.744s+ 2.463s17
19Lance StrollWilliams1:19.900s+ 2.619s15
20Sergey SirotkinWilliams1:19.909s+ 2.628s13

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.

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