Hamilton fastest again in Baku ahead of Rosberg

On a significantly hotter day at the tricky high-power Baku street circuit, the defending three-time world champion clocked a best lap in one minute and 44.352 seconds.

Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes during the final practic session before the European Formula One Grand Prix at Baku City Circuit.   -  Getty Images

Lewis Hamilton topped the times ahead of his Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg for the third and final session in Saturday's practice for this weekend's European Grand Prix.

On a significantly hotter day at the tricky high-power Baku street circuit, the defending three-time world champion clocked a best lap in one minute and 44.352 seconds.

This put him 0.258 seconds ahead of championship leader Rosberg, whose lead in the title race is under threat after being trimmed from 43 points to nine in the last two races.

In another session punctuated by accidents and incidents, the major crash came right at the end when Sergio Perez of Force India lost control of the rear of his car in the exit of Turn 15.

That was the same corner that caught out Australian Daniel Ricciardo of Red Bull on Friday.

Perez is expected to require a gearbox change before qualifying later.

German Nico Hulkenberg in the second Force India was third fastest ahead of Ricciardo, four-time champion Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari and Perez.

Dutch teenager Max Verstappen was seventh fastest in the second Red Bull ahead of the 2009 champion Jenson Button of McLaren, Daniil Kvyat of Toro Rosso and Kimi Raikkonen in the second Ferrari.

Valtteri Bottas did not set a time because his car was damaged by a loose drain-cover in the pit lane.

The Finn had just completed an installation lap when his car struck a cover that had worked loose just after the pit-lane entry.

The incident left his car needing repairs to a side-pod. A traffic cone was placed over the cover.

This followed similar incidents on Friday when a number of cars suffered cut tyres due to loose bolts in kerbs on the track.