Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas stayed on top during a third practice session for Formula 1’s Chinese Grand Prix that came to an early end when Toro Rosso rookie Alexander Albon crashed heavily.
Bottas, who edged Sebastian Vettel by just 0.027s on Friday, set a time of 1:32.830 to finish 0.392s clear of the Ferrari driver during the one-hour session on Saturday morning.
But the running order was slightly compromised by Albon crashing heavily with seven minutes remaining of the session, prompting a red flag that curtailed proceedings, denying some drivers the chance to improve on Soft rubber.
Albon ran wide through the final corner and dipped a wheel over the exit kerb, with his attempt at saving the car resulting in him spearing into the inside barriers in dramatic fashion.
Albon was able to walk away unassisted from the wreckage, and was given the all-clear after a precautionary visit to the medical centre, but is thought unlikely to participate in qualifying due to the damage the Toro Rosso STR14 sustained.
Charles Leclerc was third for Ferrari, just 0.026s behind team-mate Vettel, while Lewis Hamilton had another subdued session, taking a low-key fourth, 0.859s down on Bottas, after a far-from-clean quick lap.
Nico Hulkenberg was an eye-catching fifth for Renault while Kimi Raikkonen cast aside a relatively unimpressive Ferrari by hauling Alfa Romeo up to sixth position, the pair able to carry out Soft tyre runs before the red flag.
Red Bull took only seventh, courtesy of Max Verstappen, with team-mate Pierre Gasly only running the Medium tyres as he classified down in 15th spot.
Carlos Sainz Jr. kept McLaren towards the front of the midfield pack in eighth, ahead of the aforementioned Albon and Toro Rosso team-mate Daniil Kvyat.
Qualifying will begin at 07:00 local time