Valtteri Bottas edges Lewis Hamilton as Mercedes stays clear in FP3

Valtteri Bottas in action for Mercedes F1 at the French Grand Prix

Valtteri Bottas edged Lewis Hamilton as Mercedes maintained its grip at the top of the timesheets during final practice for Formula 1’s French Grand Prix.

Bottas clocked a time of 1:30.159 to finish 0.041s clear of team-mate Hamilton, ensuring the reigning champions finished 1-2 in all three sessions.

Mercedes has won all seven races held so far this season while Bottas trails Hamilton by 29 points in the Drivers’ Championship.

Mercedes’ advantage over Ferrari stood at four-tenths, with third-placed Charles Leclerc 0.446s down on Bottas, and Sebastian Vettel a further 0.028s in arrears.

Red Bull took a distant fifth and sixth, with Max Verstappen 1.379s behind leader Bottas, and team-mate Pierre Gasly a further tenth back.

McLaren preserved its Friday position as the team to beat in the midfield as Lando Norris took seventh position, just 0.055s down on Gasly, with Carlos Sainz Jr. ninth.

Daniel Ricciardo split the McLaren drivers to take eighth place for Renault on home turf, while Kimi Raikkonen finished at the foot of the top 10 for Alfa Romeo.

Nico Hulkenberg was 11th, ahead of Antonio Giovianzzi, Alexander Albon and the Haas pairing of Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen.

Racing Point was again towards the rear end of the midfield, with Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll 16th and 18th respectively, either side of Daniil Kvyat.

Kvyat is to start from the back of the grid after taking on fresh engine components associated with the introduction of Honda’s Spec 3 engine.

Williams’ miserable campaign continued; Robert Kubica was 19th, with his best time 1.2s down on midfield tail ender Stroll.

George Russell was able to complete only four laps after reporting a loss of power from his car during the early stages of the session.

Qualifying for the French Grand Prix is scheduled to start at 15:00 local time.

France - Practice 3

Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1 Flag   Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:30.159 18
2 Flag   Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:30.200 0.041 15
3 Flag   Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:30.605 0.446 15
4 Flag   Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:30.633 0.474 13
5 Flag   Max Verstappen Red Bull 1:31.538 1.379 11
6 Flag   Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso 1:31.599 1.440 14
7 Flag   Lando Norris McLaren 1:31.654 1.495 14
8 Flag   Daniel Ricciardo Renault 1:31.802 1.643 12
9 Flag   Carlos Sainz McLaren 1:31.887 1.728 14
10 Flag   Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo 1:31.943 1.784 16
11 Flag   Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1:32.023 1.864 15
12 Flag   Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo 1:32.171 2.012 15
13 Flag   Alexander Albon Red Bull 1:32.178 2.019 16
14 Flag   Romain Grosjean Haas 1:32.385 2.226 15
15 Flag   Kevin Magnussen Haas 1:32.400 2.241 13
16 Flag   Sergio Perez Racing Point 1:32.491 2.332 15
17 Flag   Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1:32.540 2.381 22
18 Flag   Lance Stroll Racing Point 1:32.678 2.519 14
19 Flag   Robert Kubica Williams 1:33.902 3.743 21
20 Flag   George Russell Williams 1:39.987 9.828 4