Photo: FIA

Bottas Fastest Again in Final Practice for Tuscan GP


Valtteri Bottas set the fastest lap of final practice for the Tuscan Grand Prix, edging Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen by just under two hundredths of a second as Lewis Hamilton finished in third place just 0.083s off the pace.

After a flurry of installation laps at the beginning of the session, Bottas was soon the only man on track and he stood alone as the only driver to complete a timed lap for the first third of the hour-long session.

Kimi Räikkönen and Antonio Giovinazzi then emerged from the Alfa Romeo garage and they were soon followed by Hamilton who jumped ahead of his Finnish team-mate with a lap of 1:17.415. Bottas then re-emerged on the same set of softs he had used early in the session and he re-took top spot, this time with a lap of 1:17.239.

Verstappen didn’t take to the track until 27 minutes of the hour had passed and when he did it was on a set of mediums. The slower tire didn’t hold the Ducth driver back, however, and he split the Mercedes with a time of 1:17.298 that included thee fastest final sector.

He then began to piece together a best lap and with the quickest Sector 1 time on his next flying lap he claimed P1 with a time of 1:17.116.

A lull then followed as drivers returned to the pit lane to prepare for their qualifying simulations. Eventually, with a little under 15 minutes left, Bottas took to the track on new softs and he swiftly moved back to first place with a lap of 1:16.530, despite running wide in the final corner.

Hamilton was next on track but despite going quickest in the first sector the champion dropped two tenths to Bottas in the middle sector and he slotted into second with a lap of 1:16.613.

Racing Point’s Lance Stroll then took third place with Monza winner Pierre Gasly moving to third. However, Verstappen was now on track and after setting another purple time in the final sector he once again split the Mercedes with a lap of 1:16.547 that left him just 0.017s off Bottas.

With Hamilton third and Stroll and Gasly shuffled down to fourth and fifth respectively, sixth place on the timesheet went to Sergio Pérez in the second Racing Point. Charles Leclerc finished a respectable seventh for Ferrari, while Alex Albon moved from 18th to eighth with the final flying lap of the session. The Thai driver might have hoped for more but he went well wide on the exit of the Correntaio hairpin.

Daniil Kvyat was ninth for AlphaTauri and Romain Grosjean put in a good performance to take 10th place for Haas.

Furrther back, it was a difficult session for Daniel Ricciardo who finish in 17th position, six places behind Renault team-mate Esteban Ocon and for Sebastian Vettel who ended the session in P18 and eight tenths of a second behind team-mate Leclerc. George Russell managed just one installation laps before coasting back to the pit lane with a suspected brake-by-wire failure.

2020 FIA Formula 1 Tuscan Grand Prix – Free Practice 3
1 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:16.530 17 246.726
2 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Honda 1:16.547 0.017 10 246.671
3 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:16.613 0.083 14 246.459
4 Lance Stroll Racing Point/Mercedes 1:17.112 0.582 10 244.864
5 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri/Honda 1:17.226 0.696 14 244.503
6 Sergio Pérez Racing Point/Mercedes 1:17.341 0.811 14 244.139
7 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:17.488 0.958 15 243.676
8 Alexander Albon Red Bull/Honda 1:17.538 1.008 11 243.519
9 Daniil Kvyat AlphaTauri/Honda 1:17.627 1.097 17 243.240
10 Romain Grosjean Haas/Ferrari 1:17.635 1.105 19 243.215
11 Esteban Ocon Renault 1:17.746 1.216 13 242.867
12 Carlos Sainz McLaren/Renault 1:17.768 1.238 19 242.799
13 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo/Ferrari 1:17.812 1.282 15 242.661
14 Kimi Räikkönen Alfa Romeo/Ferrari 1:17.843 1.313 17 242.565
15 Kevin Magnussen Haas/Ferrari 1:18.039 1.509 17 241.955
16 Nicholas Latifi Williams/Mercedes 1:18.072 1.542 16 241.853
17 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 1:18.142 1.612 12 241.637
18 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:18.186 1.656 15 241.501
19 Lando Norris McLaren/Renault 1:18.826 2.296 19 239.540
20 George Russell Williams/Mercedes 1

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