Saturday afternoon’s final practice session for the 2015 Formula 1 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix saw just 0.069s separate Mercedes’ pacesetter Lewis Hamilton and the Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel.Backing them up in third and fourth were respective team mates Nico Rosberg and Kimi Raikkonen.

The Williams of Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa also got within a second of Hamilton, with Lotus’s Pastor Maldonado leading the chasing pack in seventh. Daniil Kvyat, meanwhile, spun into the Turn 4 gravel after just four laps, although some slick work from the marshals and the Red Bull mechanics meant the Russian was able to get back on track in the final three minutes.

It took a while for the session to really get going, as the track remained slippery and strong winds caused fresh headaches, but in the end it exploded into a great shoot-out between Mercedes and Ferrari.

Hamilton had languished in ninth place after a less than stellar effort on Pirelli’s medium tyres, but on the softs he got it all together in the closing 10 minutes. The result was 1m 34.599s with the fastest times in the first and third sectors. But Vettel was out in the Ferrrari at the same time, and he snatched away the second sector benchmark to set a 1m 34.668s - which was just 0.069s adrift.

Rosberg’s best of 1m 34.968s left him third, while Raikkonen’s 1m 35.141s was good enough for fourth - the pair similarly split by just fractions of a second.


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