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Rosberg on top in final Hungarian GP practice, Hamilton labours

AFP logoAFP 23-07-2016 Ferenc Isza
Mercedes's driver Nico Rosberg will start on poll position at the Hungarian Grand Prix on July 24, 2016 © Provided by AFP Mercedes's driver Nico Rosberg will start on poll position at the Hungarian Grand Prix on July 24, 2016

World championship leader Nico Rosberg made the most of continued troubles for his Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton by topping the times in Saturday's final practice for the Hungarian Grand Prix.

The 31-year-old German, who leads reigning champion Hamilton by just one point ahead of Sunday’s race, clocked a best lap of one minute 20.261 seconds to outpace nearest rival Max Verstappen of Red Bull by just 0.002 seconds.

Australian Daniel Ricciardo was third in the second Red Bull, clear proof that the team are a threat to the Mercedes domination.

Hamilton, who crashed in Friday afternoon’s second practice after only 14 minutes, returned to action but suffered further problems requiring a lengthy stay in the pits.

He was fourth fastest in the session when he rejoined in the final stages after over-heating problems.

Kimi Raikkonen was fifth ahead of his Ferrari team-mate Sebastian Vettel, the Italian team pushed out of the top four by their rivals.

Two-time champion Fernando Alonso was seventh for McLaren ahead of Valtteri Bottas in his improved Williams, Mexican Sergio Perez of Force India and Briton Jolyon Palmer of Renault.

Hamilton pushed hard in a final effort to match Rosberg’s pace but went off road at Turn Four and abandoned the lap.

He is aiming to complete a hat-trick of consecutive wins and a record fifth in Hungary to gain the lead in the drivers’ title race for the first time this year.

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