Qatar, FP3: Bottas quickest in final practice at Losail
Ahead of Hamilton and Verstappen
Valtteri Bottas headed a Mercedes one-two in final practice for the 2021 FIA Formula 1 Qatar Grand Prix, narrowly beating team-mate Lewis Hamilton by less than a tenth of a second, while Max Verstappen ended the session in third, almost four tenths of a second off the pace.
The session was red-flagged almost as soon as it started when Haas’ Nikita Mazepin stopped at the end of the pit lane and was told by his team to switch off the car. He was wheeled back to the garage where it was later revealed that the team would need to replace his car’s control electronics.
When the track went green, Bottas was quickly into the groove with a 1:24.019 set on soft tyres. Hamilton then edged ahead by five hundredths of a second to steal P1 as the pair set about trading fastest laps.
Verstappen made his first appearance as the session edged towards the half way mark, having spent a chunk of the opening half hour watching his team make adjustments to his rear wing. He soon jumped to the top of the timesheet with a lap of 1:23.121 but the rear wing could be seen wobbling at high speed in the DRS Zone.
Verstappen’s stay at the top was brief as both Hamilton and Bottas then went quicker, with Bottas leading the way with a time of 1:22.573.
The bulk of the field then retreated to the pit lane to take new softs for qualifying simulations.
And in those runs, Bottas stopped the watch at 1:22.310 to claim top spot by just 0.078s with Hamilton in second place. Red Bull again went to work on Verstappen’s wing during the lull and when he emerged he improved to 1:22.651 but that was 0.341 off Bottas and only good enough for third.
Pierre Gasly took fourth place for AlphaTauri with a very later flying lap of 1:22.835 that was a hundredths of a second ahead of Sergio Pérez in the second Red Bull.
Sainz was sixth for Ferrari, followed by Alpine’s Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon. Ninth place went to Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and Yuki Tsunoda completed the top 10 for AlphaTauri.
|01||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes W12||1:22.310||17|
|02||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes W12||1:22.388||16|
|03||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Honda RB16B||1:22.651||19|
|04||Pierre Gasly||AlphaTauri Honda AT02||1:22.835||17|
|05||Sergio Pérez||Red Bull Honda RB16B||1:22.846||14|
|06||Carlos Sainz||Ferrari SF21||1:23.048||17|
|07||Fernando Alonso||Alpine Renault A521||1:23.186||13|
|08||Esteban Ocon||Alpine Renault A521||1:23.209||18|
|09||Charles Leclerc||Ferrari SF21||1:23.276||17|
|10||Yuki Tsunoda||AlphaTauri Honda AT02||1:23.567||20|
|11||Daniel Ricciardo||McLaren Mercedes MCL35M||1:23.711||14|
|12||Sebastian Vettel||Aston Martin Mercedes AMR21||1:23.884||17|
|13||Lando Norris||McLaren Mercedes MCL35M||1:23.895||16|
|14||George Russell||Williams Mercedes FW43B||1:23.923||17|
|15||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin Mercedes AMR21||1:24.154||17|
|16||Kimi Räikkönen||Alfa Romeo Ferrari C41||1:24.246||19|
|17||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo Ferrari C41||1:24.288||17|
|18||Nicholas Latifi||Williams Mercedes FW43B||1:24.499||15|
|19||Mick Schumacher||Haas Ferrari VF-21||1:24.680||20|
|20||Nikita Mazepin||Haas Ferrari VF-21||-:—.---||1|