Nico Rosberg led the way in final practice at the Sochi Autodrom, although the majority of drivers will head into qualifying not knowing everything they need to know about their car set-ups after a third consecutive disrupted session.
The session was curtailed early due to a heavy crash for Scuderia Toro Rosso driver Carlos Sainz Jr, who crashed at turn 13 and ended under the safety barriers. Marshals and the medical team were there to extract the Spaniard from his car, with Sainz first taken to the medical centre and then to hospital as a result.
After first practice was affected by a diesel spillage and the second session by the weather, drivers were hopeful of getting an uninterrupted hour of practice on Saturday morning, but with Sainz’s crash, this was cut to just about forty minutes.
Rosberg was one of a few drivers to be able to get a qualifying simulation run in, with the Mercedes AMG PETRONAS driver’s time of 1m38.561s ending 0.726s faster than the Williams Martini Racing entry of Valtteri Bottas, while championship leader Lewis Hamilton was third in the second Mercedes.
Sergio Perez ended fourth for the Sahara Force India team ahead of the second Williams of Felipe Massa, with Nico Hulkenberg sixth for Force India.
Jenson Button was seventh for the McLaren-Honda team ahead of Lotus F1 Team driver Pastor Maldonado, while Fernando Alonso of McLaren and Felipe Nasr of the Sauber F1 Team completed the top ten.
Many drivers did not set representative lap times on the Supersoft Pirelli tyres during the session, leaving them well out of position on the timing screens, most noticeably both Scuderia Ferrari and both Infiniti Red Bull Racing drivers.
Sochi Free Practice 3 Result
|4||11||Sergio Perez||MEX||Force India-Mercedes||1m39.616s|
|6||27||Nico Hulkenberg||GER||Force India-Mercedes||1m39.917s|
|11||26||Daniil Kvyat||RUS||Red Bull-Renault||1m41.358s|
|15||55||Carlos Sainz Jr||ESP||Toro Rosso-Renault||1m42.683s|
|17||33||Max Verstappen||NED||Toro Rosso-Renault||1m43.089s|
|18||3||Daniel Ricciardo||AUS||Red Bull-Renault||1m43.347s|