• Belgian GP - FP3

Bottas tops Ricciardo in mixed FP3

Laurence Edmondson at Spa-Francorchamps
August 23, 2014
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Valtteri Bottas set the fastest time in final practice for the Belgian Grand Prix in a session that saw track conditions improve throughout the hour.

The times were still 0.3s shy of Lewis Hamilton's best effort in Friday practice, but to see anything but two Mercedes at the top of the timesheets provides some hope for a competitive qualifying session. Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo managed to set the second fastest time ahead of the Mercedes of Nico Rosberg, which was 0.274s off Bottas.

Kimi Raikkonen appeared to find the groove around one of his favourite circuits with the fourth fastest time, 0.352s off the pace of the Williams. Hamilton set an identical time to Raikkonen but had to settle for fifth fastest as he set it later in the session. Fernando Alonso and Toro Rosso's Daniil Kvyat rounded out the top seven, which were split by just 0.428s.

After his Red Bull required an engine change on Friday, Sebastian Vettel appeared to struggle again on Saturday morning with the 13th fastest time. However, with track conditions improving right up until the chequered flag, getting a good time was as much about being on the circuit at the right time as anything else.

The session started in damp conditions, with most teams limiting their drivers to an installation lap before returning to the pits for the best part of 40 minutes. Andre Lotterer was among the drivers to get a taste of the wet conditions - another first in F1 for the Caterham debutant - but by the end of the hour he was roughly 0.5s off team-mate Marcus Ericsson.

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