Lewis Hamilton returns to form in Malaysia practice

By Andrew BensonChief F1 writer
Lewis Hamilton
Follow qualifying on the BBC Sport website and radio 5 live sports extra

Lewis Hamilton appeared to be stamping his authority on the Malaysian GP with a stunning lap time in final practice.

The world champion was 0.619 seconds quicker than Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg as the teams prepared for qualifying, which starts at 10:00 BST.

The margin was even bigger after each had done one lap on soft tyres - 0.859secs - but Rosberg improved on a second lap.

Red Bull's Max Verstappen split the Mercedes, 0.445secs behind Hamilton.

Max Verstappen
Job done (for now). Max Verstappen will hope to have an equally impressive qualifying session after splitting the Mercedes in final practice

The Dutchman's team-mate Daniel Ricciardo was down in sixth, but did not do a qualifying-simulation run late in the session.

Ricciardo was behind Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel, the Finn 0.02secs quicker than the four-time world champion.

Vettel had a spin midway through the session at the tricky final corner, which has been reprofiled so it is now off-camber.

Force India's Nico Hulkenberg was seventh ahead of Williams' Valtteri Bottas and Toro Rosso's Carlos Sainz.

Jenson Button could manage only 12th fastest for McLaren, while team-mate Fernando Alonso concentrated on race preparation work because he has a 45-place grid penalty for taking too many engine parts and was slowest of all.

Malaysian Grand Prix final practice results

Malaysian Grand Prix coverage details