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.

Driver Team / Entry Result Laps
1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 W07 Hybrid 1:44.352 17
2. Nico Rosberg de Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 W07 Hybrid + 0.258 22
3. Nico Hülkenberg de Sahara Force India Mercedes VJM09 + 1.188 18
4. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Racing Tag Heuer RB12 + 1.268 13
5. Sebastian Vettel de Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H + 1.278 20
6. Sergio Pérez Sahara Force India Mercedes VJM09 + 1.383 17
7. Max Verstappen nl Red Bull Racing Tag Heuer RB12 + 1.549 14
8. Jenson Button McLaren-Honda MP4-31 + 1.602 17
9. Daniil Kvyat ru Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR11 + 1.629 19
10. Kimi Räikkönen fi Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H + 1.672 16
11. Fernando Alonso es McLaren-Honda MP4-31 + 1.779 16
12. Carlos Sainz Jr es Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR11 + 1.838 17
13. Romain Grosjean fr Haas F1 Ferrari VF-16 + 2.009 21
14. Felipe Massa br Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW38 + 2.158 20
15. Esteban Gutiérrez Haas F1 Ferrari VF-16 + 2.318 21
16. Kevin Magnussen dk Renault Sport F1 Team RS16 + 2.672 16
17. Pascal Wehrlein de 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 br Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C35 + 3.027 18
21. Rio Haryanto id Manor Racing Mercedes MRT5 + 3.204 18
22. Valtteri Bottas fi Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW38 no time 1

Image via XPB Images

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.