Eifel GP: Bottas leads Hamilton in busy Practice 3

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Valtteri Bottas pipped Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton as the drivers finally got on track in Practice 3 at the Eifel Grand Prix.

After Friday was lost to the weather, much clearer skies greeted the teams at the Nurburgring, allowing them to get some much needed running before qualifying.

There was drama at Racing Point, however, as an unwell Lance Stroll was unable to drive leading the team to call Nico Hulkenberg back to replace him.

The German, who deputised for Sergio Perez at Silverstone, arrived at the track and was undergoing his Covid-19 test as the session ended, but will need special permission from the FIA to be allowed to take part in qualifying.

On the circuit, there was plenty of different approaches at work as Red Bull set the early pace, while Mercedes appeared to focus on long-run pace initially before setting some faster times.

And it was Bottas who would set a new lap record around the Nurburgring of 1m26.225s, to finish a tenth clear of slightly uncomfortable Hamilton, who had some small moments at Turn 1 and the Veedol chicane.

Charles Leclerc produced a good lap late on to claim third, with Sebastian Vettel, despite a spin, backing up Ferrari's apparent improvement in fifth as they introduced more upgrades.

Lec FP3

In the very cold temperatures in Germany, tyres were a big talking point as drivers scrambled to get them into the right window.

And while others improved, Red Bull slipped back a little with Max Verstappen two-thirds of a second down on Bottas in fourth and Alex Albon only ninth.

The battle between McLaren, Renault and Racing Point appears as tight as always with two-tenths covering Lando Norris, Sergio Perez and Daniel Ricciardo in P6-8. Pierre Gasly completed the top 10 in the AlphaTauri.

Down the field, Kimi Raikkonen again led the lower midfield battle in 14th on his record-breaking 323rd Grand Prix weekend at Alfa Romeo.

The two Williams' also had an eventful session with 17th placed George Russell spinning off at the Veedol chicane and enjoying a long slide down the grass.

Teammate Nicholas Latifi then had his own moment at the final corner, the Coca-Cola curve, briefly putting himself dangerously on the racing line against the barrier as he tried to recover.

With an hour of experience under their belts around the 'Ring though, the drivers now head into qualifying where plenty of thrills and spills likely await.

Full results from Practice 3 can be seen below: