Lewis Hamilton not only set the pace in Saturday’s final practice but did so by setting a new lap record while Brendon Hartley walked away from a massive crash.
Warmth and less wind, although only marginally, greeted the drivers as they took to the Spanish track for Saturday’s final practice.
Almost from the get-go it was the battle of the compounds as Ferrari’s supersofts took on Mercedes’ softs.
It was the latter that won with Lewis Hamilton quickest on a 1:18.112 while Sebastian Vettel was 0.212s down in the early running.
Valtteri Bottas got involved as he pipped Hamilton only for the reigning World Champion to come back with a new lap record of 1:17.844.
Red Bull joined the party but on the medium tyres – Daniel Ricciardo up to fifth place and Max Verstappen P7.
Verstappen, though, found himself in hot water for rejoining the track on the wrong side of the bollard. He is under investigation by the stewards.
Swapping to new supersoft tyres for qualifying simulations Vettel went quickest but was beaten by Bottas only for Hamilton to come through and take P1.
A 1:17.281 for the reiging World Champion meant he finished FP3 quickest of all.
Bottas was second, 0.150s down, with Vettel third, 0.269s off the pace. Both drivers were also below the previous lap record.
Kimi Raikkonen was fourth ahead of Daniel Ricciardo.
The Aussie’s team-mate Verstappen finished down in 12th place as he missed the final 15 minutes of practice due to an “electrical issue on the engine side.”
Kevin Magnussen was sixth ahead of Romain Grosjean, Carlos Sainz, Fernando Alonso and Pierre Gasly.
His team-mate Brendon Hartley gave everyone an early shower as he ended FP3 two minutes early when he crashed heavily.
He touched the grass, was pitched into a spin, and slammed in to the barriers with the rear of his car.
The driver was okay but the car suffered massive damage.
Williams’ woes continued on Saturday morning with Sergey Sirotkin and Lance Stroll, who had a trip through the gravel, slowest of all.
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:17.281 15
2 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 0.013s 19
3 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 0.269s 16
4 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 0.3s 17
5 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 0.7s 16
6 Kevin Magnussen Haas 1.076s 15
7 Romain Grosjean Haas 1.425s 16
8 Carlos Sainz Renault 1.502s 16
9 Fernando Alonso McLaren 1.566s 14
10 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso 1.605s 17
11 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1.624s 16
12 Max Verstappen Red Bull 1.732s 5
13 Esteban Ocon Force India 1.84s 20
14 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren 1.955s 17
15 Charles Leclerc Sauber 2.011s 19
16 Sergio Perez Force India 2.095s 17
17 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso 2.147s 23
18 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 2.463s 17
19 Lance Stroll Williams 2.619s 15
20 Sergey Sirotkin Williams 2.628s 13