Mercedes Valtteri Bottas went quickest in final practice to the Chinese Grand Prix in a session curtailed due a heavy crash involving Toro Rosso’s Alex Albon.
With six minutes remaining in the session the Thai driver went wide in the final corner. He attempted to correct the error and that sent his Toro into a spin. He hit the barriers hard, destroying the whole left-hand side of his car. The Toro Rosso driver was quickly on the radio to confirm he was unhurt and to apologise for a crash that puts his chance of taking part in qualifying in sever jeopardy.
With debris scattered across the track, there was little hope of a restart and the session was ended with three minutes left.
Championship leader Bottas, along with team-mate Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari rivals Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc had managed to get in their qualifying simulations before the crash and it was Bottas who emerged quickest.
The Finn posted a time of 1:32.830 to take spot 0.392 ahead of Vettel. The German had failed to make the most of his performance run, however, running wide in the final corner to set a time slower than his opening run of the session, also on soft tyres.
Leclerc improved his time with his final run but it was still no match for his team-mate’s earlier time and the Monegasque driver finished 0.026 behind Vettel and 0.418 down on Bottas’ time.
Defending world champion Lewis Hamilton also missed out on a convincing quali sim. The Mercedes driver ran wide on the exit of Turn 6 on his first attempt and then caught traffic on his second attempt. He ended the session in fourth place.
Fifth place in the session went to Nico Hulkenber. The Renault driver was another who managed to get in a qualifying run before the session was halted. He ended the session in 1.1s behind Bottas but just 0.285 behind Hamilton.
Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Räikkönen also managed to get in a performance run and the Finn claimed P6 with a lap of 1:34.246.
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen was one of the last to run in the first part of the session and his time of 1:34.447 on soft tyres, set just before the half hour mark, had to suffice, as he failed to make it out on track for a quali sim before Albon’s crash. Team-mate Pierre Gasly also missed out on a performance run and he ended the session in P15 having run on medium tyres in the early part of the session.
Carlos Sainz finished in P8 for McLaren ahead of the unfortunate Albon, whil 10thplace wen to his Toro Rosso team-mate Daniil Kvyat
2019 Formula One Chinese Grand Prix – Free Practice 3
1 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 11 1:32.830
2 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 12 1:33.222 0.392
3 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 10 1:33.248 0.418
4 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 10 1:33.689 0.859
5 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 11 1:33.974 1.144
6 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo 14 1:34.246 1.416
7 Max Verstappen Red Bull 5 1:34.447 1.617
8 Carlos Sainz Jr. McLaren 9 1:34.510 1.680
9 Alex Albon Toro Rosso 11 1:34.600 1.770
10 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 10 1:34.783 1.953
11 Lando Norris McLaren 11 1:34.938 2.108
12 Sergio Perez Racing Point 9 1:35.078 2.248
13 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 11 1:35.142 2.312
14 Lance Stroll Racing Point 10 1:35.223 2.393
15 Pierre Gasly Red Bull 8 1:35.326 2.496
16 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo 12 1:35.726 2.896
17 Romain Grosjean Haas 14 1:35.771 2.941
18 Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari 15 1:35.998 3.168
19 George Russell Williams Mercedes 10 1:36.124 3.294
20 Robert Kubica Williams Mercedes 11 1:36.176 3.346