Mercedes AMG F1
Photo: Mercedes AMG F1

Hamilton Tops Final Practice for 70th Anniversary GP


Lewis Hamilton topped final practice for the FIA Formula 1 70th Anniversary Grand Prix beating Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas by 0.163s.

Both drivers used the soft compound Pirelli tyre to set their best times of the session, but third place went to McLaren’s Lando Norrius who set his best lap of 1:27.702 on the yellow-banded medium compound tyre.

The session got off to a quiet start and almost a quarter of an hour went by before the first time of the morning was recorded by Norris, who posted a a lap 1:28.379. Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc then edged ahead of the McLaren driver by three hundredths of a second.

As the half hour mark approached Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas went out on a set of soft tyres and the Finn immediately jumped to the top of the order with a lap of 1:27.509. Lewis Hamilton then joined the action, on soft tyres, and his opening flyer of the session netted him P2, two hundredths of a second behind his team-mate.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen then moved to third place with a lap 1:27.702. The Dutchman was unhappy with his first sector, despite going quickest through the first part of the lap. Hamilton then made a second attempt on softs and he improved, jumping into P1 with a new benchmark of 1:27.280.

With 20 minutes remaining Norris bolted on a set of medium tyres and the Englishman vaulted to the top of the timesheet with a lap of 1:27.202, seven hundredths of a second ahead of Hamilton’s time on the red-banded soft compound Pirelli.

Bottas, too, bolted on a set of mediums and with 15 minutes remaining he went fastest with a lap of 1:26.784. Hamilton though stuck with soft tyres and he reclaimed top spot with his next flyer of 1:26.621.

Verstappen also opted to go out on another set of softs but as he powered through Becketts he came across a slow-moving Lance Stroll in the middle of the track and was forced to back off. The Dutchman was quickly on the radio to lambast the Racing Point driver’s conduct.

Stroll, at the time, was on a cool down lap having climbed to P4 behind Hamilton, Bottas and Norris with a lap of 1:27.263, but the Canadian’s stay there didn’t last long as Hulkenberg edged ahead of his new team-mate by 0.007s.

Verstappen made a second attempt on the same set of soft tyres and this time posted a lap of 1:27:455 to take P7 behind Leclerc and 0.019s ahead of team-mate Albon.

There was no change to the order in the closing minutes of the session and Hamilton duly took top spot with his soft-tyre lap of 1:26.621 ahead of Bottas and Norris.

The Racing Points were fourth and fifth, with Hulkenberg ahead of Stroll. Leclerc was sixth ahead of Verstappen with Albon eighth ahead of Renault’s Esteban Ocon and the second McLaren of Carlos Sainz. All of the top 10 except Norris set the quickest times on the soft tyre.

2020 FIA Formula 1 70thAnniversary Grand Prix – Free Practice 3
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:26.621 15 244.832
2 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:26.784 0.163 16
3 Lando Norris McLaren/Renault 1:27.202 0.581 20
4 Nico Hülkenberg Racing Point/Mercedes 1:27.256 0.635 16
5 Lance Stroll Racing Point/Mercedes 1:27.263 0.642 15
6 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:27.328 0.707 18
7 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Honda 1:27.455 0.834 12
8 Alexander Albon Red Bull/Honda 1:27.474 0.853 15
9 Esteban Ocon Renault 1:27.496 0.875 15
10 Carlos Sainz McLaren/Renault 1:27.627 1.006 22
11 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri/Honda 1:27.659 1.038 15
12 Daniil Kvyat AlphaTauri/Honda 1:27.754 1.133 18
13 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:27.811 1.190 20
14 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 1:27.815 1.194 12
15 Romain Grosjean Haas/Ferrari 1:28.076 1.455 15
16 Nicholas Latifi Williams/Mercedes 1:28.125 1.504 14
17 George Russell Williams/Mercedes 1:28.349 1.728 17
18 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo/Ferrari 1:28.468 1.847 13
19 Kimi Räikkönen Alfa Romeo/Ferrari 1:28.538 1.917 12
20 Kevin Magnussen Haas/Ferrari 1:28.763 2.142 16

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