Abu Dhabi, FP3 : Verstappen tops final practice ahead of Hamilton
The Ferrari drivers didn’t use soft tyres
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.
|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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