Abu Dhabi, FP3: Verstappen heads Red Bull one-two in final practice

Ricciardo 3rd, Ocon 4th

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By Olivier Ferret

12 December 2020 - 12:05
Abu Dhabi, FP3: Verstappen heads (...)

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 tyres and then lowered the benchmark with a second run of 1:36.734. The Dutchman alternated between saving soft tyres 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.

Pos.DriverCarTimeLaps
01 Max Verstappen Red Bull Honda RB16 1:36.251 16
02 Alex Albon Red Bull Honda RB16 1:36.752 15
03 Daniel Ricciardo Renault RS20 1:36.877 12
04 Esteban Ocon Renault RS20 1:36.899 15
05 Lando Norris McLaren Renault MCL35 1:36.994 13
06 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes W11 1:37.012 16
07 Lance Stroll Racing Point Mercedes RP20 1:37.030 16
08 Carlos Sainz McLaren Renault MCL35 1:37.068 12
09 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes W11 1:37.085 16
10 Sergio Perez Racing Point Mercedes RP20 1:37.227 13
11 Daniil Kvyat AlphaTauri Honda AT01 1:37.266 17
12 Charles Leclerc Ferrari SF1000 1:37.270 14
13 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri Honda AT01 1:37.371 18
14 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari SF1000 1:37.728 16
15 George Russell Williams Mercedes FW43 1:37.886 16
16 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo Ferrari C39 1:37.900 16
17 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo Ferrari C39 1:38.269 16
18 Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari VF-20 1:38.457 14
19 Nicholas Latifi Williams Mercedes FW43 1:38.765 17
20 Pietro Fittipaldi Haas Ferrari VF-20 1:39.159 15

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