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F1 German Grand Prix: Rosberg sweeps practice as rivals close in

Nico Rosberg tops the timesheets once again in third free practice for the German Grand Prix but the top four is covered by just a tenth
CLICK HERE for the full German Grand Prix FP3 result

Nico Rosberg has once again topped the timesheets in third free practice for the German Grand Prix but heads into qualifying at the Hockenheimring with Lewis Hamilton, Ferrari and Red Bull very much within striking distance.

Comfortably quickest in FP1 and FP2 over Lewis Hamilton by more than three tenths of a second, Rosberg was once again the driver to beat in FP3, but after going slower than yesterday's benchmark with a 1min 15.738s lap, he would find his margin over the competition significantly reduced.

Indeed, with Hamilton just 0.057s behind – despite a wild off-track moment at Turn 1 -, Mercedes will be uncomfortably aware of the small gap back to third place Daniel Ricciardo in the Red Bull and fourth place Kimi Raikkonen in the Ferrari, the pair just 0.099s and 0.164s off the top.

Ahead of what promises to be one of the hardest-fought qualifying sessions of the season, Sebastian Vettel and Max Verstappen are also within range, three and four tenths off the top in the sister Ferrari and Red Bull machines. Significantly, Red Bull's improved single lap pace comes after showed impressive long run form on Friday.

Making the biggest gains overnight, Williams sprung into the top ten with Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa into seventh and eighth, with Fernando Alonso and Nico Hulkenberg rounding out the top ten for McLaren and Force India.

Further back, Jenson Button – who was forced to visit hospital on Friday after getting a fragment of carbon in his eye – lost more track line with technical issues, while Sergio Perez and Kevin Magnussen were also forced to sit out much of the session as Force India and Renault worked on their cars.

Meanwhile, Romain Grosjean faces a potential grid penalty after his Haas developed a gearbox issue early on in the session.
by Ollie Barstow

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