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Hamilton pips Rosberg in FP3, Merc duo breaks 2015 pole time

Hamilton pips Rosberg in FP3, Merc duo breaks 2015 pole time

Hamilton pips Rosberg in FP3, Merc duo breaks 2015 pole time

Defending world champion Lewis Hamilton edged his Mercedes teammate and title rival Nico Rosberg in the third free practice for the Russian Grand Prix, taking first place by .068 seconds on Saturday.

Hamilton’s time was the fastest in practice yet, beating his own time from Friday.

The two Ferraris were third and fourth, with Sebastian Vettel .603 seconds off Hamilton’s time, and Kimi Raikkonen .720 further back.

Vettel, who faces a five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change, spent most of the session on a long race simulation run, clocking up 28 laps, more than any other driver.

Williams duo of Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas ended the session fifth and sixth.

Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz Jr. ran well for Toro Rosso to finish seventh and ninth respectively, with McLaren’s Jenson Button splitting the duo as he bids for the team’s first Q3 berth in over a year later in qualifying. Sergio Perez rounded out the top 10 for Force India.

There were fewer incidents than in Friday’s practice, when the slippery Sochi asphalt caused several spins.

Rosberg hold a 36-point lead over Hamilton early in the 2016 championship, 75-39 points. Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo is third on 36 and Vettel, who on Sunday must serve a five-place grid penalty over a gearbox change, ranks fourth on 33.

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