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Lewis Hamilton edged Nico Rosberg in the final practice session at the Russian Grand Prix.
Hamilton, playing catch up to his Mercedes teammate in the drivers' standings after Rosberg won the opening three races of the season, set the fastest lap of the weekend so far at Sochi Autodrom late in Saturday practice.
However, the Englishman's best time was just 0.068 seconds quicker than Rosberg’s, suggesting a highly competitive battle for pole position.
Ferrari were third and fourth fastest, with Sebastian Vettel ahead of Kimi Raikkonen, although the former was over half a second off the pace of Mercedes, and he faces a five-place grid penalty following qualifying.
Williams, having struggled up to now in 2016, will be encouraged by grabbing fifth and sixth through Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas, respectively.
Jenson Button went eighth fastest, giving McLaren further hope of securing a grid slot inside the top 10.
In the battle between the main two contenders, Hamilton appeared to have the better potential for much of the session, but Rosberg's consistency over the course of a lap seemed to have secured him top spot.
However, the Englishman put it all together at the death to deliver a blow in the intense intra-team fight.
Rosberg had been fastest in the opening practice session, with Hamilton topping Friday's latter outing.
Russian Grand Prix, Practice 3 results
Pos. Driver, Team, Time
1. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 1:36.403
2. Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, 1:36.471
3. Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, 1:37.007
4. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 1:37.727
5. Felipe Massa, Williams, 1:37.918
6. Valtteri Bottas, Williams, 1:37.985
7. Max Verstappen, Toro Rosso, 1:38.133
8. Jenson Button, McLaren, 1:38.260
9. Carlos Sainz, Toro Rosso, 1:38.465
10. Sergio Perez, Force India, 1:38.542
11. Daniel Ricciard, Red Bull, 1:38.622
12. Fernando Alonso, McLaren, 1:38.633
13. Daniil Kvyat, Red Bull, 1:39.047
14. Nico Hulkenberg, Force India, 1:39.162
15. Esteban Gutierrez, Haas F1, 1:39.230
16. Kevin Magnussen, Renault, 1:39.238
17. Romain Grosjean, Haas F1, 1:39.239
18. Jolyon Palmer, Renault, 1:39.589
19. Rio Haryanto, Manor, 1:39.599
20. Pascal Wehrlein, Manor, 1:39.663
21. Marcus Ericsson, Sauber, 1:39.740
22. Felipe Nasr, Sauber, 1:39.898