Charles Leclerc headed Sebastian Vettel for a one-two for in-form Ferrari in final practice at the Russian GP, but Mercedes reduced their deficit to the front.
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All the key TV times to watch the entire Russian GP weekend from Sochi live on Sky Sports F1.
Leclerc produced an impressive session to lead the field by three tenths of the second with a weekend-best lap of 1:32.783 as he chases a fourth pole in succession from 1pm on Saturday.
But while Vettel was second in the other Ferrari, Lewis Hamilton finished within striking distance of the Singapore victor after a P3 session which steadily improved for F1’s world champions.
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff had described Friday as a “negative day” but Sky F1’s Paul Di Resta reckons the result of the final practice session show that “it’s close enough to say that Mercedes are not out of this”.
Valtteri Bottas was fourth ahead of Friday pacesetter Max Verstappen, but the Dutchman did not set a lap time on the soft tyres after spinning on what should have been his quickest effort.
Verstappen had earlier set the fastest time of anyone on the medium tyres and has a five-place grid penalty for the race owing to engine changes.
Romain Grosjean was a surprise sixth-quickest for Haas, with Alexander Albon seventh in the other Red Bull ahead of Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg.
Lando Norris was ninth in the lead McLaren – with the team creating the big news of the weekend so far by announcing a Mercedes engine deal for 2021 – while the other Haas of Kevin Magnussen rounded out the top 10.
But there was more frustration for local favourite Daniil Kvyat, whose Toro Rosso stopped on track for the second time in as many days. The team confirmed the car would require a power-unit change ahead of qualifying, with the Russian now unlikely to take part in Q1 given he already had a confirmed back-of-the-grid start for exceeding engine part limits.
The P3 verdict of Sky F1’s Jenson Button“I think we expected Ferrari to be quick but Charles Leclerc is just lightning fast at the moment. He’s not putting a foot wrong He’s getting the maximum out of the car every time he gets in it.