Hamilton Heads Mercedes 1-2 in Final Practice in Abu Dhabi

Lewis Hamilton led a Mercedes 1-2 in final practice for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, beating team-mate Valtteri Bottas by 0.273s. The Constructors’ champions’ closest rival was Kimi Räikkönen, with the Finn finishing 0.257 behind compatriot Bottas.

In a quiet start to the session, which was run in full sunshine conditions not relative to those to come in qualifying and the race, Räikkönen led the way with a time of 1:38.999 set on ultrasoft tyres. However, just under 20 minutes into the session both Mercedes joined the fray and the Ferrari man was quickly dislodged by Hamilton and then by Bottas.

There was then a bizarre moment as the Virtual Safety Car was briefly deployed when a large parasol drifted on to the track in Turn 8. It was quickly removed by marshals and the action resumed. Hamilton again took over at the top with a time of 1:38.159 as the switch to qualifying runs approached.

Räikkönen was the first to make a major move in that regard, the Finn reclaiming P1 with a time just 0.002s clear of Hamilton’s earlier benchmark.

Mercedes were on track, however, and when their runs were complete Hamilton was back in control with a best time of 1:37.627s to head Bottas by just under three tenths of a second and Räikkönen and fourth-placed Sebastian Vettel by over half a second.

Fifth place went to Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo, though the Australian was 0.713s off the pace. He was, however, two tenths clear of team-mate Max Verstappen, whose qualifying sim appeared to be compromised by a struggle for rear grip.

McLaren’s Fernando Alonso finished in seventh place, just over a tenth of a second ahead of team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne. Renault’s Carlos Sainz finished in ninth place and Force India’s Sergio Perez rounded out the top 10.

2017 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – Free Practice 3 
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 19 1:37.627
2 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 21 1:37.900 0.273
3 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 22 1:38.157 0.530
4 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 22 1:38.174 0.547
5 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 16 1:38.340 0.713
6 Max Verstappen Red Bull 14 1:38.587 0.960
7 Fernando Alonso McLaren 15 1:39.155 1.528
8 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren 18 1:39.277 1.650
9 Carlos Sainz Jr. Renault 15 1:39.340 1.713
10 Sergio Perez Force India 19 1:39.367 1.740
11 Felipe Massa Williams 16 1:39.383 1.756
12 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 18 1:39.396 1.769
13 Esteban Ocon Force India 18 1:39.500 1.873
14 Kevin Magnussen Haas 19 1:39.831 2.204
15 Romain Grosjean Haas 19 1:40.079 2.452
16 Pascal Wehrlein Sauber 20 1:40.307 2.680
17 Lance Stroll Williams 16 1:40.572 2.945
18 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso 21 1:40.737 3.110
19 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 21 1:40.789 3.162
20 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso 23 1:40.883 3.256


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