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Bottas breaks Mercedes’ stranglehold at Spa by topping FP3

Aug 23, 2014, 6:03 AM EDT

Valtteri Bottas AP

Valtteri Bottas has broken Mercedes’ dominance at the top of the timesheets in practice for the Belgian Grand Prix by finishing fastest in a damp final practice session at Spa-Francorchamps today.

The Finn posted a best time of 1:49.465 to finish two-tenths of a second clear of Daniel Ricciardo at the top, whilst Nico Rosberg came home in third ahead of Kimi Raikkonen and Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton.

FP3 began in wet conditions following rain showers on Saturday morning. All of the drivers completed their installation laps on intermediate compound tires, before sitting in the pits and waiting for the track to dry. Only Andre Lotterer, Jules Bianchi and Esteban Gutierrez opted to post a time in the first half of the session.

However, it came alive once a dry line had been formed at Spa, allowing the drivers to head out on the medium compound tires. Fernando Alonso and Valtteri Bottas both enjoyed some time at the top of the timesheets, but Mercedes once again came good with Hamilton edging out Rosberg by 0.001 seconds after the first runs.

With five minutes to go, the drivers headed back out on the quicker soft tire for their final qualifying simulations. Kimi Raikkonen was the first to lay down the gauntlet and beat Hamilton’s time before the Briton matched his lap to the thousandth of a second. Bottas moved back up to P1 by three-tenths soon after, with Rosberg slotting into second place behind the Finn. Ricciardo was the only late improver, moving up to second place.

You can watch qualifying for the Belgian Grand Prix live on CNBC from 8am ET today.

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