Photo: FIA

Verstappen Tops Final Practice in Sakhir Ahead of Bottas and Gasly


Max Verstappen went quickest in the final practice session for the 2020 Formula 1 Sakhir Grand Prix, beating Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas by two tenths of a second as Pierre Gasly finished third for AlphaTauri. 

A quiet start to the session featured Haas new boy Pietro Fittipaldi as the only runner, but when McLaren’s Lando Norris headed out on track after 15 minutes he sparked a flurry of action as a stream of cars followed. 

Bottas led through this phase of the hour, with the Mercedes driver using soft tires to set the mid-session pace with a lap of 54.523s. That left him almost four tenths clear of new team-mate George Russell with Verstappen in third, although the Dutchman spent the early part of running on hard tires. 

Bottas and Russell were among the early adopter when the field began to move to soft tires. Bottas was first across the line with the Finn setting a time of 54.270. He did run wide at the final corner, however, and the time lost there allowed Verstappen edge past and claim top spot with his soft tire lap of 54.064 seconds. He ended the session 0.206s ahead of Bottas. 

Russell’s lap was not in the same class and while his time of 54.664 was solid it left him vulnerable and as rivals powered across the line he was quickly bypassed and the young driver ended up in P7, six tenths off Vertstappen. 

Pierre Gasly gave AlphaTauri hope of a good result in qualifying with third third place, 0.363 behind Verstappen. Renault’s Esteban Ocon was fourth for Renault, ahead of McLaren’s Lando Norris and the second Red Bull of Alex Albon who had two times deleted and set his best time on medium rubber, With Russell seventh, Racing Point pair of Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll took eighth and ninth place and Carlos Sainz completed the top 10 for McLaren.

There was trouble though for Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel. The German’s running was ended early when Ferrari decided to make a precautionary power unit change ahead of qualifying. Vettel finished the session in P15 two places behind team-mate Charles Leclerc. 

2020 FIA Formula 1 Sakhir Grand Prix – Free Practice 3 
1 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Honda 54.064 23 235.920
2 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 54.270 0.206 20 235.024
3 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri/Honda 54.427 0.363 24 234.346
4 Esteban Ocon Renault 54.453 0.389 21 234.235
5 Lando Norris McLaren/Renault 54.606 0.542 15 233.578
6 Alexander Albon Red Bull/Honda 54.629 0.565 22 233.480
7 George Russell Mercedes 54.664 0.600 20 233.330
8 Sergio Pérez Racing Point/Mercedes 54.678 0.614 20 233.271
9 Lance Stroll Racing Point/Mercedes 54.693 0.629 18 233.207
10 Carlos Sainz McLaren/Renault 54.720 0.656 16 233.092
11 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo/Ferrari 54.845 0.781 20 232.560
12 Daniil Kvyat AlphaTauri/Honda 54.850 0.786 23 232.539
13 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 54.854 0.790 21 232.522
14 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 54.857 0.793 15 232.509
15 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 54.858 0.794 17 232.505
16 Kimi Räikkönen Alfa Romeo/Ferrari 55.171 1.107 20 231.186
17 Kevin Magnussen Haas/Ferrari 55.347 1.283 19 230.451
18 Nicholas Latifi Williams/Mercedes 55.493 1.429 21 229.845
19 Pietro Fittipaldi Haas/Ferrari 55.666 1.602 21 229.130
20 Jack Aitken Williams/Mercedes 55.670 1.606 23 229.114

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