Lewis Hamilton was second to Sebastian Vettel in final practice for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix

Hamilton and Vettel
Hamilton and Vettel

Lewis Hamilton finished second to his championship rival Sebastian Vettel in final practice for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

Hamilton is bidding to win his first race of the new campaign, and he ended the one-hour running here a third of a second down on Vettel.

The 33-year-old British driver has struggled for form in recent rounds and was slower than his Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas in both sessions at the Baku Street Circuit on Friday.

Bernie Ecclestone, the sport's former overlord, even claimed that Hamilton is not the racer he once was.

But the Englishman was quicker than Bottas here, with the Finn only fifth. Kimi Raikkonen was third for Ferrari with Max Verstappen fourth. The top five were separated by less than half-a-second.

Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo, a winner last time out in China, failed to get a clean lap together and was 12th in the order.

The final running before qualifying later on Saturday was temporarily halted after Sergey Sirotkin lost control of his Williams and crashed into the barriers.

The Russian emerged unscathed from the incident at turn three but the same could not be said of his car with his Williams team now facing a race against time to ensure he can participate in qualifying.

FP3 times

  • Sebastian Vettel (Ger) Ferrari 1min 43.091secs
  • Lewis Hamilton (Gbr) Mercedes GP 1:43.452
  • Kimi Raikkonen (Fin) Ferrari 1:43.493

4 Max Verstappen (Ned) Red Bull 1:43.519, 5 Valtteri Bottas (Fin) Mercedes GP 1:43.569, 6 Sergio Perez (Mex) Force India 1:43.936, 7 Kevin Magnussen (Den) Haas F1 1:43.958, 8 Lance Stroll (Can) Williams 1:44.123, 9 Esteban Ocon (Fra) Force India 1:44.220, 10 Sergey Sirotkin (Rus) Williams 1:44.534, 11 Fernando Alonso (Spa) McLaren 1:44.763, 12 Daniel Ricciardo (Aus) Red Bull 1:44.861, 13 Pierre Gasly (Fra) Scuderia Toro Rosso 1:44.905, 14 Charles Leclerc (Mon) Sauber-Ferrari 1:45.218, 15 Romain Grosjean (Fra) Haas F1 1:45.261, 16 Carlos Sainz (Spa) Renault 1:45.432, 17 Nico Hulkenberg (Ger) Renault 1:45.456, 18 Stoffel Vandoorne (Bel) McLaren 1:45.505, 19 Marcus Ericsson (Swe) Sauber-Ferrari 1:45.910, 20 Brendon Hartley (Nzl) Scuderia Toro Rosso 1:46.186

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