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Bottas leads FP3 as Vettel, Verstappen hit trouble

Baku, June 24, AZERTAC

Valtteri Bottas edged out Kimi Raikkonen to lead the way in final free practice for the Formula 1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix at Baku.

The Finn clocked a 1m42.742s on the supersoft Pirelli tyres to finish 0.095 seconds clear of Ferrari's Raikkonen.

His Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton, who had a lairy moment at the narrow Turn 8, was three tenths further back in third.

Bottas set the early pace on the soft tyre, heading Raikkonen by almost four tenths of a second.

When teams turned their attention to qualifying simulations on the supersoft tyres, Hamilton and Bottas traded fastest laps.

Hamilton was unhappy with his tyres throughout but Bottas enjoyed a more straightforward session, gradually improving his times over several laps on the supersoft tyres.

Championship leader Sebastian Vettel had a frustrating session, managing just seven laps and ending his running early when Ferrari called him in after spotting "an issue".

The team later confirmed it was a hydraulic problem and he could be set for an engine change for qualifying.

Vettel did not manage to complete a low-fuel run and finished 12th overall.

Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo popped in a quick lap late on to finish fourth, half a second off the pace, with teammate Max Verstappen, sixth.

Verstappen, who topped both sessions on Friday, was on course to be in the top three before he stopped out on track in the closing stages reporting "everything just switched off".

Esteban Ocon was the leading Force India in fifth with Felipe Massa, who narrowly avoided contact at Turn 8, was seventh.

Toro Rosso's Daniil Kvyat was eighth, ahead of Lance Stroll, with Sergio Perez completing the top 10.

Nico Hulkenberg was 11th, while his Renault teammate Jolyon Palmer failed to set a representative time after stopping on track early on with a fire at the rear of the car.

McLaren's Fernando Alonso was 14th, two places and half a second clear of teammate Stoffel Vandoorne, with both set to start from the back after heavy grid penalties for engine changes.

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