Abu Dhabi, FP3 : Verstappen tops final practice ahead of Hamilton

The Ferrari drivers didn’t use soft tyres

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By Emmanuel Touzot

30 November 2019 - 12:07
Abu Dhabi, FP3 : Verstappen tops (...)

Max Verstapen edged Lewis Hamilton by just under eight hundredths of a second to top the final practice session for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, with Valtteri Bottas third. In a tight session the final three were covered by less than a tenth of a second.

Hamilton set the early pace in the session with a lap of 1:37.699, before Verstappen moved ahead with his first lap of the afternoon, a 1:37.202 that put him half a second clear of the Mercedes driver.

Hamilton responded, however, and the six-time champion became the first to dip below 1m37s to reclaim P1. His lap of 1:36.877 kept him in top stop ahead of team-mate Bottas ahead of the qualifying simulations.

When the teams moved to new soft tyres for those runs, Hamilton made a small improvement to 1:36.640 to apparently solidify his hold on top spot. Verstappen, though, had the measure of the Mercedes in first two sectors and though the Red Bull driver lost half a second to Hamilton in the final sector, his time was good enough to take him 0.074s of a second clear of the Briton. Bottas then made a big improvement late on to close to 1500ths of a second off Hamilton.

Alex Albon was fourth-quickest in the second Red Bull, 0.361s behind his pacesetting team-mate. The Thai driver might have got slightly closer had not his final flying lap been compromised when he came across slow Haas cars in the final sector.

Sebastian Vettel was fifth quickest in the session, four tenths behind Verstappen, with Ferrari team-mate three hundredths of a second further back.

Both Ferrari drivers chose not to take on new sets of softs in the second half of the session, however, and both Vettel and Leclerc set their best laps on medium compound Pirellis.

Behind the Ferrari pair, Sergio Pérez was best of the best for Racing Point, with the Mexican finishing as the last driver within a second of Verstappen. The Racing Point driver took seventh place five hundredths of a second ahead of Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo.

Carlose Sainz was ninth for McLaren and the final top 10 position was taken by Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly who finished 1.17s behind Verstappen.

Pos.DriverCarTimeLaps
01 Max Verstappen Red Bull Honda RB15 1:35.566 15
02 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes W10 1:36.640 18
03 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes W10 1:36.655 17
04 Alex Albon Red Bull Honda RB15 1:36.927 18
05 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari SF90 1:36.975 15
06 Charles Leclerc Ferrari SF90 1:37.010 16
07 Sergio Pérez Racing Point Mercedes RP19 1:37.516 16
08 Daniel Ricciardo Renault RS19 1:37.615 14
09 Carlos Sainz McLaren Renault MCL34 1:37.691 22
10 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso Honda STR14 1:37.736 17
11 Romain Grosjean Haas Ferrari VF-19 1:37.768 12
12 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso Honda STR14 1:37.963 18
13 Lando Norris McLaren Renault MCL34 1:38.100 18
14 Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari VF-19 1:38.198 12
15 Lance Stroll Racing Point Mercedes RP19 1:38.462 16
16 Kimi Räikkönen Alfa Romeo Ferrari C38 1:38.514 21
17 Nico Hülkenberg Renault RS19 1:38.580 14
18 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo Ferrari C38 1:38.782 18
19 George Russell Williams Mercedes FW42 1:39.206 16
20 Robert Kubica Williams Mercedes FW42 1:29.859 17

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