Lewis Hamilton dominated final practice for the Spanish Grand Prix as a late off for George Russell prevented any final improvements ahead of Formula 1 qualifying.
Mercedes driver Hamilton enjoyed a commanding advantage over the chasing Ferraris in the session, which ended under red flags when Russell lost the rear of his Williams at the long Turn 4 right-hander and ended up in the wall backwards after travelling through the gravel.
That stopped three drivers – Red Bull’s Pierre Gasly, Renault driver Nico Hulkenberg and McLaren’s Lando Norris – completing a final new-tyre run and some from improving on a second flying lap on softs.
But it did nothing to impact the gap Hamilton had over the next-best driver, Charles Leclerc.
Hamilton’s eventual best was a 1m16.568s, more than half a second clear of the two Ferraris.
Leclerc pipped Sebastian Vettel by 0.073s, a tiny margin that was still big enough for Valtteri Bottas to slot into and steal third from Vettel.
Bottas’s session started badly when he caused a seven-minute red flag by spinning on his out-lap at the downhill Turn 5 left-hander and beaching his car in the gravel.
After the Mercedes was recovered Bottas did join the action with just under 20 minutes to go but the Friday pacesetter ended up 0.555s slower than team-mate Hamilton.
Vettel, demoted to fourth by Bottas’s improvement, had his own spin when he lost the rear mid-corner at the chicane early in the session.
He ended up only a fraction faster than the leading Haas of Romain Grosjean as the American team challenged the established frontrunners in final practice.
Grosjean believes Haas can “play” with Red Bull in Spain and his time in third practice, 0.624s off the pace and within a tenth of both Ferraris and Bottas, backed this stance up.
Kevin Magnussen also got ahead of the two Red Bulls in the second Haas, lapping sixth-fastest and 0.962s off the pace.
Max Verstappen was Red Bull’s leading man, partly thanks to Gasly being denied a final run.
Verstappen was fractionally slower than Magnussen, 0.990s behind Hamilton, but encountered traffic in the final sector of his first lap on new tyres at the end of the session.
Toro Rosso driver Alex Albon finished the session eighth, while Kimi Raikkonen’s Alfa Romeo and the McLaren of Carlos Sainz Jr completed the top 10.
Practice three times
|7||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Honda||1m17.558s||0.990s||12|
|8||Alexander Albon||Toro Rosso/Honda||1m17.864s||1.296s||16|
|9||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||1m17.969s||1.401s||17|
|10||Carlos Sainz Jr.||McLaren/Renault||1m18.003s||1.435s||17|
|11||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Honda||1m18.105s||1.537s||17|
|13||Sergio Perez||Racing Point/Mercedes||1m18.656s||2.088s||12|
|14||Pierre Gasly||Red Bull/Honda||1m18.693s||2.125s||12|
|15||Lance Stroll||Racing Point/Mercedes||1m18.734s||2.166s||16|
|16||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||1m18.740s||2.172s||14|