Sakhir, FP3: Verstappen tops final practice ahead of Bottas and Gasly

Engine problem for Vettel


By Olivier Ferret

5 December 2020 - 16:06
Sakhir, FP3: Verstappen tops final (...)

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

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