Lewis Hamilton has finished on top of the timesheets in all three practice sessions for the European Grand Prix, edging out Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg in Saturday’s final hit-out before qualifying at the Baku City Circuit.
The 2016 Drivers’ Championship rivals finished over a second clear of the rest of the field in the one-hour session, with Force India’s Nico Hülkenberg claiming ‘best of the rest’ honours with the third-fastest time.
His teammate Sergio Pérez confirmed the VJM09’s pace with the sixth-fastest time, but was on course to go even faster before crashing at Turn 15. The Mexican’s car sustained heavy damage at the rear and looks a long-odds chance of being able to drive in this afternoon’s qualifying session.
Overnight set-up tweaks helped Daniel Ricciardo finish fourth-fastest in his Red Bull Racing RB12, just one-hundredth of a second clear of Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.
The former teammates’ current teammates, Max Verstappen and Kimi Räikkönen lapped marginally off the pace of their stablemates to finish in seventh and tenth fastest respectively. Räikkönen lost some running in the session with an apparent power delivery problem.
Jenson Button was quick in a straight line to get his McLaren Honda eighth-fastest – three spots clear of teammate Fernando Alonso – and he might even have gone quicker had he not been held up by Hamilton on one of his flying laps. Daniil Kvyat was ninth-fastest in his Toro Rosso Ferrari.
The Haas Ferraris of Romain Grosjean and Esteban Gutiérrez were well-placed in the session and just over two seconds off the ultimate pace. The pair sandwiched Williams’ Felipe Massa in a lowly fourteenth, with the Brazilian narrowly surviving a brush with the wall in the session.
It was a poor session for Williams, with Massa’s teammate Valtteri Bottas failing to manage any running after he struck a loose drain cover in the pit lane at the start of his session. The contact caused damage to the right hand side of his car.
Saturday’s qualifying session in Baku begins at 17:00 local time.
|2016 FORMULA 1 GRAND PRIX OF EUROPE – FREE PRACTICE 3 SESSION RESULTS|
|Driver||Team / Entry||Result||Laps|
|1.||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 W07 Hybrid||1:44.352||17|
|2.||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 W07 Hybrid||+ 0.258||22|
|3.||Nico Hülkenberg||Sahara Force India Mercedes VJM09||+ 1.188||18|
|4.||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull Racing Tag Heuer RB12||+ 1.268||13|
|5.||Sebastian Vettel||Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H||+ 1.278||20|
|6.||Sergio Pérez||Sahara Force India Mercedes VJM09||+ 1.383||17|
|7.||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing Tag Heuer RB12||+ 1.549||14|
|8.||Jenson Button||McLaren-Honda MP4-31||+ 1.602||17|
|9.||Daniil Kvyat||Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR11||+ 1.629||19|
|10.||Kimi Räikkönen||Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H||+ 1.672||16|
|11.||Fernando Alonso||McLaren-Honda MP4-31||+ 1.779||16|
|12.||Carlos Sainz Jr||Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR11||+ 1.838||17|
|13.||Romain Grosjean||Haas F1 Ferrari VF-16||+ 2.009||21|
|14.||Felipe Massa||Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW38||+ 2.158||20|
|15.||Esteban Gutiérrez||Haas F1 Ferrari VF-16||+ 2.318||21|
|16.||Kevin Magnussen||Renault Sport F1 Team RS16||+ 2.672||16|
|17.||Pascal Wehrlein||Manor Racing Mercedes MRT5||+ 2.748||19|
|18.||Jolyon Palmer||Renault Sport F1 Team RS16||+ 2.806||18|
|19.||Marcus Ericsson||Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C35||+ 2.976||14|
|20.||Felipe Nasr||Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C35||+ 3.027||18|
|21.||Rio Haryanto||Manor Racing Mercedes MRT5||+ 3.204||18|
|22.||Valtteri Bottas||Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW38||no time||1|
Image via XPB Images