Lewis Hamilton set the pace in final practice ahead of qualifying for the Bahrain GP
Mercedes run one-two once again as Vettel spins out
By Mike Wise at Sakhir. Last Updated: 05/04/14 7:01pm
Lewis Hamilton set the pace ahead of Nico Rosberg as Mercedes once again proved their pace in third practice at the Bahrain Grand Prix.
Hamilton lapped the 5.412km Bahrain International Circuit in a time of 1:35.324 to go 0.115s faster than his team-mate with the next fastest driver, Force India's Sergio Perez, about half a second off the pace.
However, Sebastian Vettel's session came to a premature end when he spun off the track. Driver error appeared to be the cause when the World Champion lost control of his Red Bull exiting Turn Two and ended up beached in the gravel.
Behind Perez came Williams pair Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa, with Jenson Button (McLaren), Fernando Alonso (Ferrari), Nico Hulkenberg (Force India), Daniil Kvyat (Toro Rosso) and Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) completing the top ten.
With Mercedes clear favourites once again this weekend and the front-row of the grid seemingly theirs for the taking, the question now is who might bag top spot in qualifying.
Hamilton claimed pole in the wet in both Australia and Malaysia and he looks in the mood for another under floodlights later on Saturday. However, with the Silver Arrows one-two on both medium and soft tyres, it was Rosberg who led the way on the prime.
All the Mercedes-powered cars made a slow start but soon enough Hamilton sprung up in P1 by 1.3s, with Rosberg (1:37.252s) going 0.088s clear soon after.
Button and Hulkenberg moved third and fourth, with Raikkonen and Alonso seventh and eighth ahead of Vettel and team-mate Daniel Ricciardo.
As was the case on Friday, Williams were last out on track with Bottas and Massa immediately moving third and fourth fastest respectively.
Vettel then had his moment - "I spun in Turn Two and the engine was off immediately," he reported sheepishly - and the switch to the soft tyre came with about 15 minutes to go. And with the W05s running in close company across the start-finish line, Hamilton shaved about a tenth off Rosberg's time.
Perez and Hulkenberg were next up, with the Mexican significantly quicker than his team-mate. Alonso and then Button then split the pair, with Raikkonen about 0.3s adrift of the Spaniard.
Again, Bottas and Massa were last out and, once again, they ended up nestled side-by-side while Kvyat - who led the times 20 minutes in - also slotted into the top ten.
Qualifying starts at 4pm (BST).