Sakhir, FP3: Verstappen tops final practice ahead of Bottas and Gasly
Engine problem for Vettel
Max Verstappen went quickest in the final practice session for the 2020 Formula 1 Sakhir Grand Prix, beating Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas by two tenths of a second as Pierre Gasly finished third for AlphaTauri.
A quiet start to the session featured Haas new boy Pietro Fittipaldi as the only runner, but when McLaren’s Lando Norris headed out on track after 15 minutes he sparked a flurry of action as a stream of cars followed.
Bottas led through this phase of the hour, with the Mercedes driver using soft tyres to set the mid-session pace with a lap of 54.523s. That left him almost four tenths clear of new team-mate George Russell with Verstappen in third, although the Dutchman spent the early part of running on hard tyres.
Bottas and Russell were among the early adopter when the field began to move to soft tyres. Bottas was first across the line with the Finn setting a time of 54.270. He did run wide at the final corner, however, and the time lost there allowed Verstappen edge past and claim top spot with his soft tyre lap of 54.064 seconds. He ended the session 0.206s ahead of Bottas.
Russell’s lap was not in the same class and while his time of 54.664 was solid it left him vulnerable and as rivals powered across the line he was quickly bypassed and the young driver ended up in P7, six tenths off Vertstappen.
Pierre Gasly gave AlphaTauri hope of a good result in qualifying with third third place, 0.363 behind Verstappen. Renault’s Esteban Ocon was fourth for Renault, ahead of McLaren’s Lando Norris and the second Red Bull of Alex Albon who had two times deleted and set his best time on medium rubber, With Russell seventh, Racing Point pair of Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll took eighth and ninth place and Carlos Sainz completed the top 10 for McLaren.
There was trouble though for Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel. The German’s running was ended early when Ferrari decided to make a precautionary power unit change ahead of qualifying. Vettel finished the session in P15 two places behind team-mate Charles Leclerc.
|01||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Honda RB16||54.064||23|
|02||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes W11||54.270||20|
|03||Pierre Gasly||AlphaTauri Honda AT01||54.427||24|
|04||Esteban Ocon||Renault RS20||54.453||21|
|05||Lando Norris||McLaren Renault MCL35||54.606||15|
|06||Alex Albon||Red Bull Honda RB16||54.629||22|
|07||George Russell||Mercedes W11||54.664||20|
|08||Sergio Perez||Racing Point Mercedes RP20||54.678||20|
|09||Lance Stroll||Racing Point Mercedes RP20||54.693||18|
|10||Carlos Sainz||McLaren Renault MCL35||54.720||16|
|11||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo Ferrari C39||54.845||20|
|12||Daniil Kvyat||AlphaTauri Honda AT01||54.850||23|
|13||Charles Leclerc||Ferrari SF1000||54.854||21|
|14||Daniel Ricciardo||Renault RS20||54.857||15|
|15||Sebastian Vettel||Ferrari SF1000||54.858||17|
|16||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo Ferrari C39||55.171||20|
|17||Kevin Magnussen||Haas Ferrari VF-20||55.347||19|
|18||Nicholas Latifi||Williams Mercedes FW43||55.493||21|
|19||Pietro Fittipaldi||Haas Ferrari VF-20||55.666||21|
|20||Jack Aitken||Williams Mercedes FW43||55.670||23|