Abu Dhabi Grand Prix: Hamilton on top in third practice

Four-time champion Sebastian Vettel was third fastest in the second Ferrari.

Lewis Hamilton topped the times for Mercedes in Saturday's third and final free practice ahead of Sunday's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.   -  Getty Images

Newly crowned five-time world champion Lewis Hamilton topped the times for Mercedes in Saturday's third and final free practice ahead of Sunday's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

As the high temperatures at the Yas Marina circuit affected tyre behaviour and wear, the 33-year-old Briton clocked a best lap in one minute and 37.176 seconds to outpace Sauber-bound Finn Kimi Raikkonen, in his final race with Ferrari, by 0.288 seconds.

Four-time champion Sebastian Vettel was third fastest in the second Ferrari, four-tenths off the pace, ahead of Max Verstappen in the leading Red Bull and Valtteri Bottas in the second Mercedes.

Renault-bound Daniel Ricciardo was sixth in the second Red Bull, but his session was brought to an abrupt early end when he pulled off and parked following what seemed to be a gearbox or engine problem.

It signalled another setback for the luckless Australian who has had eight race retirements this year, more than Hamilton in the last five years with Mercedes. Ricciardo, winner of two races this season, is due to start his 150th race on Sunday.

Frenchman Romain Grosjean was seventh for Haas ahead of German Nico Hulkenberg and Spaniard Carlos Sainz in the two Renaults and French protege Esteban Ocon, in his final weekend with Force India.

Grosjean was involved in a late clash with compatriot Pierre Gasly, who replaces Ricciardo at Red Bull next season. The pair came together when Gasly gesticulated at Grosjean and drove straight on, his Toro Rosso glancing off the Haas as bodywork parts flew off. Neither man was hurt.