Lewis Hamilton has finished on top in the final practice session ahead of his team-mate Nico Rosberg by under three-tenths of a second.Lewis Hamilton has finished on top in the final practice session ahead of his team-mate Nico Rosberg by under three-tenths of a second.
Despite having a big spin on the penultimate corner on what was then his fastest lap, Hamilton remained on top for the majority of the session. It took Rosberg eight laps to get within a few tenths of his team-mate, as he seemed to struggle after changing his setup from the two practice sessions yesterday.
After a promising Friday, McLaren fell down the order with best place finisher Jenson Button in 11th position and 1.6 seconds off Hamilton’s best lap.
His team-mate Kevin Magnussen suffered what McLaren believe to be a right rear puncture, he stopped on track and brought out the red flag after only completing four laps.
Williams were best of the rest with Valtteri Bottas managing to finish less than a tenth slower than Rosberg in third. His team-mate Felipe Massa was nine-tenths off the Finn’s pace in fifth position.
There were signs of improvement from the Red Bull camp as Daniel Ricciardo finished the session in fourth position, albeit a second off Hamilton’s benchmark. The Australian lacked pace on the medium tyres, but showed improvement once he switched to the soft compound tyres.
Sebastian Vettel struggled to find grip throughout the hour and ended up 10th in the other Red Bull. He wasn’t the only driver to slip on Sochi’s new surface, as Button found himself exploring the track as well as Vettel at Turn Four.
Rumours circled that Red Bull had lowered the downforce on both their cars in order to gain more top speed, however Team Principal Christian Horner dismissed the claims.
Ricciardo’s top speed through the speed trap was 308km/h. Hamilton and Rosberg in the Mercedes powered cars reached a top speed of 328km/h.
Pastor Maldonado’s Lotus experienced an ERS failure, meaning the Venezuelan failed to set a time throughout the session.
Marussia’s Max Chilton also ran into trouble; a right rear wheel hub problem sidelined him for the remainder of the session after only completing nine laps.
Images via XPB Images