Rosberg ends Hamilton’s run to finish quickest in FP3

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Nico Rosberg has broken Lewis Hamilton’s spell of dominance to finish quickest in the final practice session for the Spanish Grand Prix today.

The German driver finished some eight-tenths of a second clear of his teammate, but his quickest time was set on the softer tire with low fuel. After setting the fastest time in the middle sector on a set of the options, Hamilton chose not to complete the lap and instead returned to the pits, happy with how the car was working.

The final 60 minute session saw teams complete their final checks and runs ahead of qualifying later today (live on NBCSN from 8am ET), but it did not go to plan for all of the drivers. Max Chilton’s session once again ended in the gravel after he made a mistake and spun off at turn five, whilst Adrian Sutil complained that his Sauber was undriveable.

Pace-setter Rosberg even had some problems with understeer on the softer compound of tire, but he still managed to finish well clear of the rest of the field.

Home favorite Fernando Alonso put in a good run on the soft tire to finish third behind the Mercedes drivers, and he was followed in fourth place by Felipe Massa. Romain Grosjean finished fifth, and the Frenchman’s time suggests that Lotus could be on the cusp of breaking into the top ten this weekend in Spain.

However, the advantage still clearly lies with Mercedes, but it will be a close-run thing between Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg for pole position later today.

You can watch qualifying for the Spanish Grand Prix live on NBCSN and Live Extra from 8am ET.

F1 2017 driver review: Lance Stroll

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Team: Williams

Car No.: 18
Races: 20
Wins: 0
Podiums: 1
Best Finish: P3 (Azerbaijan)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Points: 40
Championship Position: 13th

Lance Stroll’s arrival in Formula 1 at the start of the 2017 was a far from smooth one despite a significant private testing program being undertaken in the months leading up to his grand prix debut.

Even with older hand Felipe Massa at Williams, Stroll looked uneasy behind the wheel of the FW40 car through the opening run of races as he failed to reach the checkered flag in any of his first three starts.

The Canadian was left deflated after his first decent effort in Bahrain was cut short after a clash with Carlos Sainz Jr., calling it his “rock bottom” moment – but things would turn around on home soil.

Stroll produced a stunning fight through the field to take an excellent P9 in Canada, proving his talent seen in Formula 3 the previous year and shushing many of his critics.

Better would follow two weeks later in Baku when Stroll became the youngest rookie in F1 history to score a podium, dodging a crazy race to finish third. It would have been second had he not lost a drag race against Valtteri Bottas to the line.

Stroll’s form then fluctuated greatly. He was sublime on occasion, the best examples being Monza, when he started a remarkable P2 on the grid and ended as the top midfielder in P7, or Mexico where he took a brilliant sixth.

But there were too many weekends he was a little anonymous. Sure, Williams didn’t have the best car this year, but perhaps a little better was expected from Stroll.

2018 will be an even bigger challenge as he looks to the lead the team when a new teammate arrives – and at only 19, it is a lot to handle. Nevertheless, there are positive signs to be found; you just need to look for them a little.

Season High: Taking a shock podium in Baku after dodging chaos in front.

Season Low: A poor opening two races in Australia and China.