Hamilton fastest in close-run FP3
 Valtteri Bottas driving the Mercedes during final practice for the F1 Grand Prix of Hungary (Photo credit: Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

Hamilton fastest in close-run FP3

Lewis Hamilton topped the final practice session, ahead of what is anticipated to be one of the closest Qualifying sessions of the season.

Matthew Watkinson

Lewis Hamilton was fastest in the final session before qualifying, with a new lap record, hoping to eradicate the memories of a dismal race last time out.

The Brit and Max Verstappen were neck and neck throughout the session, with the latter looking to clinch his second consecutive victory on Sunday.

Sebastian Vettel was dominant in the first sector but couldn’t hook his Ferrari up through the middle and final sector to match the front two runners.

Ferrari looked in better shape in FP3 as the Prancing Horse desperately searches for a race win, the last of which was remarkably Kimi Raikkonen at the USA Grand Prix 10 months ago.

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Disruptive conditions

With the teams eager to complete some long runs to gain valuable data ahead of the race on Sunday after being unable to in the previous wet sessions, FP3 was cut short after track-work at Turn 4.

The session, to the dismay of the teams, was delayed by ten-minutes after track officials had to clean an oil spill that had plagued the tarmac in Formula 2, before the session.

As the practice session got underway, several drivers complained about the cement dust resting at Turn 4 with a flume of dust erupting every time a car ran over it, not only affecting visibility but also creating slippery tarmac.

Midway through, dark clouds gathered above the circuit and threatened to open, but conditions remained dry for the remainder of the session.

Rest of the field

McLaren’s Lando Norris, with a point to prove after consecutive disappointing races, looked sharp and finished best of the rest in seventh ahead of teammate Carlos Sainz in ninth.

Kimi Raikkonen got the better of his teammate once more in the Alfa Romeo, with an impressive time of 1:17.216 earning the Finn eighth place.

After Haas’ recent troubles, they will be encouraged with early signs showing they have more competitive pace this weekend with both cars barely separated by a tenth in tenth and eleventh.

With his Renault future hanging in the balance, Nico Hulkenburg managed to edge his teammate Daniel Ricciardo, who had a tricky session and finished in 16th place.

George Russell dragged his Williams closer to the midfield pack beating Lance Stroll’s Racing Point, with the team optimistic of competing against other teams in the near future after upgrades impressing.

Third Practice results:

1. Hamilton – 1:16.084

2. Verstappen – 1:16.097

3. Vettel – 1:16. 166

4. Bottas – 1:16.355

5. Leclerc – 1:16.392

6. Gasly – 1:16.684

7. Norris – 1:16.774

8. Raikkonen – 1:17.216

9. Sainz – 1:17.217

10. Magnussen – 1:17.230

11. Grosjean – 1:17.293

12. Kvyat – 1:17.432

13. Hulkenburg – 1:17.667

14. Perez – 1:17.670

15. Giovinazzi – 1:17.929

16. Ricciardo – 1:17.962

17. Albon – 1:18.024

18. Russell – 1:18.072

19. Stroll – 1:18.534

20. Kubica – 1:18.709