After setting the pace on Friday, Bottas continued his strong start to the weekend to head Hamilton by just 0.078s during the qualifying simulation runs in the final 60-minute practice session.
Championship leader Max Verstappen could only get within 0.341s of Bottas’ benchmark as Red Bull lagged behind Mercedes in FP3, with the Dutchman thwarted by continued DRS issues.
The rear wing and DRS flag was seen fluttering on the straights on both Red Bulls during FP2 and the issue appeared to affect Verstappen’s car once again in final practice.
Red Bull mechanics were seen frantically working on Verstappen’s DRS actuator on at least two occasions during the session, restricting the championship leader to fewer runs than the Mercedes duo.
Mercedes’ pace looks ominous for Red Bull, although the session was not as representative as FP2 given qualifying and the race takes place under the lights amid much lower track temperatures.
Pierre Gasly managed to split the Red Bulls to put his AlphaTauri fourth and ahead of Sergio Perez, who rounded out the top five, some half a second down.
Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz was sixth-fastest, ahead of the Alpines of Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon and teammate Charles Leclerc.
Behind Leclerc came Yuki Tsunoda’s AlphaTauri, with the Japanese rookie keeping Daniel Ricciardo and McLaren outside of the top 10.
Nikita Mazepin failed to complete a single lap after his Haas car broke down on the way out of the pitlane, causing a brief early red flag.
The Russian was sidelined for the rest of the session while Haas changed the engine control unit on his car.
It puts Mazepin on the back foot heading into qualifying, given he also sat out of second practice following a chassis change due to damage picked up running over the kerbs in FP1.