Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel made an impressive performance, the German is half a second slower than title favourite Hamilton. Local boy Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo was fifth, behind Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen.
Max Verstappen made sixth fastest, he had been on a quick lap and due to improve his time, only to run wide at Turn 12 and narrowly avoid losing control.
Carlos Sainz Jr. finished a solid seventh for Toro Rosso ahead of Haas driver Romain Grosjean, who was fortunate to keep his car out of the wall as the American team’s brake issues arose once again. Nico Hulkenberg was ninth for Renault, with Daniil Kvyat rounding out the top 10.
The unlucky speedy, Renault’s Jolyon Palmer losing the rear of his Renault at the final corner in the early stages of the evening session and bringing out the red flags as his harshly damaged car was removed.
Fernando Alonso had a better day than many were expecting in the McLaren-Honda, setting 12th quickest time, albeit 2.4secs off the pace and five places ahead of his highly rated rookie team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne.
Incidents – A big crash put an end to Jolyon Palmer’s session, Romain Grosjean ended up in the gravel. Which happened quite a lot last year, Felipe Massa stopped with an issue with his Williams.
The overall speed of the new cars was impressive, many over four seconds faster per lap compared to the corresponding sessions at last year’s race.