Valtteri Bottas beat team-mate Lewis Hamilton by just three thousandths of a second to top of the timesheet in an extremely tight final practice for the Brazilian Grand Prix.
Just six hundredths of a second covered the top four drivers with Kimi Räikkönen finishing just 0.045 behind Hamilton and Ferrari team-mate Sebastian Vettel fourth 0.013s further back.
The session began under grey skies and the threat of rain, though in the end the session remained dry throughout.
Räikkönen, using supersoft tyres, set the pace in the first half of the session with a time of 1:09.633, with Vettel four hundredths of a second adrift. Behind them Hamilton and Bottas spent the first 30 minutes on soft tyres with the four-time champion just less than two tenths further back.
There was an early retirement the session in the shape of Lance Stroll. The Williams driver had completed just one lap when he was sidelined by what looked like a gearbox problem. As he exited Turn 6 there was a small puff of smoke from the rear of his car and he quickly coasted to a halt at the edge of the track with his steering display showing neutral.
When teams began to make the switch to qualifying simulations it was Räikkönen who initially topped the order, though he was soon deposed by fellow Finn Bottas. Räikkönen responded but he was then squeezed out by both Hamilton and Bottas whose lap of 1:09.281 was just good enough for P1.
Behind Vettel, Daniel Ricciardo was fifth for Red Bull Racing, though he was almost a second off the pace.
Both he and team-mate Max Verstappen sat out the first half of the session and when they finally took to the track, with 25 minutes remaining, Ricciardo set about a stint on supersofts while Verstappen circled on soft tyres.
Eventually both emerged on fresh supersofts, but neither made the most of their final laps. Ricciardo finished the better of the two, while Verstappen’s quick lap on the tyre ended in a spin in the final section. He recovered and headed back to the Red Bull garage but played no further part in the session.
Fernando Alonso was an impressive sixth for McLaren, ahead of Force India’s Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon, while Verstappen was ninth. Carlos Sainz completed the top 10.
2017 Brazilian Grand Prix – Free Practice 3
1 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 24 1:09.281
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 26 1:09.284 0.003
3 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 20 1:09.326 0.045
4 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 21 1:09.339 0.058
5 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 14 1:10.244 0.963
6 Fernando Alonso McLaren 15 1:10.288 1.007
7 Sergio Perez Force India 21 1:10.322 1.041
8 Esteban Ocon Force India 23 1:10.357 1.076
9 Max Verstappen Red Bull 9 1:10.495 1.214
10 Carlos Sainz Jr. Renault 23 1:10.599 1.318
11 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren 21 1:10.637 1.356
12 Felipe Massa Williams 14 1:10.671 1.390
13 Kevin Magnussen Haas 19 1:10.721 1.440
14 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 18 1:10.743 1.462
15 Romain Grosjean Haas 20 1:10.762 1.481
16 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso 32 1:10.981 1.700
17 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso 30 1:11.085 1.804
18 Pascal Wehrlein Sauber 25 1:11.126 1.845
19 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 27 1:11.480 2.199
20 Lance Stroll Williams 1 No Time Set