Mercedes in front again in final practice for Spanish GP

Mercedes in front again in final practice for Spanish GP
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain steers his car during the third free practice for the Spanish Formula One Grand Prix at the Barcelona Catalunya racetrack in Montmelo, Spain, Saturday, May 12, 2018. The Spanish Formula One Grand Prix will take place on Sunday. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Mercedes continued to show good pace at the Spanish Grand Prix, with Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas setting the fastest times in the final practice before qualifying on Saturday.

Ferrari was close behind with Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen, followed by the Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo.

Hamilton had a time of 1 minute 17.281 seconds at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, with Bottas less than a tenth of a second slower. Vettel and Raikkonen were within three tenths of Hamilton’s time.

Haas had both of its cars near the front, with Kevin Magnussen sixth and Romain Grosjean seventh. Home-crowd favorites Carlos Sainz of Renault and Fernando Alonso of McLaren ended eighth and ninth, respectively.

Mercedes had already been quickest in practice on Friday, with Bottas leading the first session and Hamilton the second.

Hamilton, the defending champion, has a four-point lead over Vettel in the drivers’ standings, although Ferrari has shown the best pace after four races.

The session ended a few minutes ahead of time because of a crash involving the Toro Rosso of Brendon Hartley. He clipped the grass on the entry of a turn and span into the tire barrier, significantly damaging his car. The rear end fell apart as the car was being hoisted by a crane. Hartley was not injured.

Max Verstappen of Red Bull finished only 12th after an electrical issue cut short his time on track.

Lance Stroll continued to struggle with Williams, going off track and through the gravel. Grosjean did the same after getting stuck in traffic. Both drivers had also gone off track on Friday.

Qualifying was later Saturday and there was a small chance of rain.

Magnussen was given a reprimand by race stewards for a dangerous maneuver in the final practice session on Friday.

Race organizers said additional security was implemented after several cars were broken into in a closed parking lot at the track.


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