Photo: FIA

Verstappen Heads Red Bull 1-2 in Final Practice for Abu Dhabi GP


Max Verstappen went quickest in final practice for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix quickest beating team-mate Alexander Albon by juts over half a second as Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas finished sixth and ninth respectively.

With the session taking place in the heat of the early afternoon the opening 20 minutes of the session passed in near silence as teams waited for drop in temperatures.

Eventually, though, Williams fired up Nicholas Latifi’s car and Haas’ Kevin Magnussen and the Alfa Romeos of Antonio Giovinazzi and Kimi Räikkönen, whose car had been rebuilt after a fire during FP2, swiftly followed the Canadian on track.

Verstappen was able to claim top spot with his first run on the soft tires and then lowered the benchmark with a second run of 1:36.734. The Dutchman alternated between saving soft tires in the opening and middle sectors but after two laps with more conservative middle sectors failed to reap dividends, he went for a more aggressive approach in the second and third sectors and found instant improvement, lowering the marker to 1:36.251s.

Alex Albon completed a one-two result for Red Bull, though the Thai driver was 0.501s behind his team-mate.

After two early runs, Albon spent some time in the Red Bull garage as his crew worked on the front end of his car and even when he returned to the track he complained of “insane understeer”.

He was able to improve, however, and set a best time of 1:36.752, a little over a tenth of a second clear of the Renaults of Daniel Ricciardo and Esteban Ocon.

Behind the Renaults Lando Norris took fifth for McLaren, with the British driver finishing just under two hundredths of a second ahead of Hamilton. Neither Hamilton nor Bottas competed a qualifying simulation during the session.

Racing Point’s Lance Stroll finished in seventh place ahead of McLaren’s Carlos Sainz and Bottas and the top order was completed by Racing Point’s Sergio Perez.

2020 FIA Formula 1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – Free Practice 3
1 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Honda 1:36.251 16 207.731
2 Alexander Albon Red Bull/Honda 1:36.752 0.501 15 206.656
3 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 1:36.877 0.626 12 206.389
4 Esteban Ocon Renault 1:36.899 0.648 15 206.342
5 Lando Norris McLaren/Renault 1:36.994 0.743 13 206.140
6 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:37.012 0.761 16 206.102
7 Lance Stroll Racing Point/Mercedes 1:37.030 0.779 16 206.064
8 Carlos Sainz McLaren/Renault 1:37.068 0.817 12 205.983
9 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:37.085 0.834 16 205.947
10 Sergio Pérez Racing Point/Mercedes 1:37.227 0.976 13 205.646
11 Daniil Kvyat AlphaTauri/Honda 1:37.266 1.015 17 205.564
12 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:37.270 1.019 14 205.555
13 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri/Honda 1:37.371 1.120 18 205.342
14 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:37.728 1.477 16 204.592
15 George Russell Williams/Mercedes 1:37.886 1.635 16 204.262
16 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo/Ferrari 1:37.900 1.649 16 204.232
17 Kimi Räikkönen Alfa Romeo/Ferrari 1:38.269 2.018 16 203.465
18 Kevin Magnussen Haas/Ferrari 1:38.457 2.206 14 203.077
19 Nicholas Latifi Williams/Mercedes 1:38.765 2.514 17 202.444
20 Pietro Fittipaldi Haas/Ferrari 1:39.159 2.908 15 201.639

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