Hamilton completes Bahrain practice sweep

Sat Apr 5, 2014 9:28am EDT
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By Alan Baldwin

MANAMA (Reuters) - Lewis Hamilton completed a practice hat-trick on Saturday after lapping fastest in his Mercedes in the third and final session for the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix.

The Briton, who was top in both of Friday's sessions, completed 12 laps and was 0.115 seconds quicker than team mate Nico Rosberg as the pair finished one-two for the third practice in a row at the Sakhir desert circuit.

Hamilton, the 2008 champion, can complete another hat-trick in qualifying for the third race of the season after taking pole position in Australia and Malaysia.

While Mercedes were again the class act in the field on a clear and hot afternoon, Red Bull's quadruple world champion Sebastian Vettel ended up 21st of 22 drivers on the timesheets after spinning off and into the gravel.

"I spun on the exit of Turn Two and the engine went off immediately," said the German, who walked back into the paddock before the session had ended.

Mexican Sergio Perez was third fastest in a Force India with Valtteri Bottas fourth for Williams, who left it late to get their cars out, ahead of Brazilian team mate Felipe Massa and McLaren's Jenson Button.

The top six drivers were all in Mercedes-powered cars.

The best of the rest was Ferrari's Fernando Alonso who was seventh fastest.   Continued...

Mercedes Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain drives during the third practice session of the Bahrain F1 Grand Prix at the Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) in Sakhir, south of Manama April 5, 2014. REUTERS/Steve Crisp