Hamilton strikes back to top final Belgian GP practice

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Lewis Hamilton closed out practice for the Belgian Grand Prix at the top of the timesheets after edging out Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg in FP3.

Hamilton admitted on Friday evening that he had work to do after trailing Rosberg in both FP1 and FP2, and appeared to have made the desired progress by beating his title rival by half a second on Saturday morning.

A fastest lap of 1:48.984 saw Hamilton shoot to the top of the classification late on, leaving Rosberg to settle for second place for the first time this weekend.

As Mercedes once again dominated proceedings and romped home to a one-two finish, Ferrari emerged as the best of the rest as Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen ended FP3 in third and fourth place respectively, even if the Finn had a slight off at one point.

Sergio Perez produced an impressive final lap time to rise to fifth by the end of the session for Force India, beating 2014 Belgian GP winner Daniel Ricciardo.

Ricciardo’s Red Bull teammate Daniil Kvyat finished seventh, ahead of Nico Hulkenberg in P8. With just 0.4 seconds separating the drivers from P3 to P8, there appears to be a close fight unfolding to be best of the rest behind Mercedes at Spa.

Williams made a step forwards after a quiet Friday as Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa squeezed into the top ten. However, the British team still appears to lack the required pace to challenge constructors’ championship rivals Ferrari and Red Bull this weekend.

FP3 proved to be another difficult session for McLaren as Fernando Alonso was sidelined due to a problem with his power unit. The team already has 55 places worth of grid penalties under its belt for the forthcoming race, but this looks set to rise further after Alonso’s issue.

Qualifying for the Belgian Grand Prix is live on CNBC and Live Extra from 8am ET.