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Qatar, FP3: Bottas quickest in final practice at Losail

Ahead of Hamilton and Verstappen


By Olivier Ferret

20 November 2021 - 13:08
Qatar, FP3: Bottas quickest in (...)

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

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