Abu Dhabi GP: Hamilton leads Raikkonen in final practice

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Abu Dhabi GP: Hamilton leads Raikkonen in final practice
Scott Mitchell
By: Scott Mitchell
Nov 24, 2018, 11:07 AM

Lewis Hamilton set the pace in Saturday's practice session ahead of the final Formula 1 qualifying session of the season in Abu Dhabi.

Mercedes driver Hamilton enjoyed a comfortable three-tenths advantage over the Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen, with Sebastian Vettel third.

Ferrari had control of FP3 for most of the session as Raikkonen and then Vettel hit the top of the pile early on.

Vettel's initial benchmark of 1m38.668s stood until the final 20 minutes of the session, when he lowered it significantly to 1m37.587s.

Hamilton then blitzed that with a 1m37.176s, before Raikkonen also edged ahead of Vettel by clocking a 1m37.464s.

Raikkonen has been summoned to the stewards for a bizarre pitlane entry incident in which he slowed almost to a stop and then crawled back across onto the track at the last minute.

Red Bull slipped back after showing strongly on Friday, although Max Verstappen was able to outpace the second Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas.

Verstappen was just over half a second slower than Hamilton but outpaced Bottas by two tenths to take fourth.

Daniel Ricciardo completed the top six in the second Red Bull, which was the last car to lap within a second of Hamilton's benchmark.

Ricciardo did not complete the session as he was forced to pull over at the exit of Turn 9, just at the beginning of the second of the two long back straights, with a few minutes to go.

A flurry of late flying laps mixed up the rest of the top 10.

Nico Hulkenberg rose to seventh fastest with five minutes left, but neither Haas nor the Sauber of Charles Leclerc had completed their final qualifying simulation.

Grosjean jumped to seventh with his effort, a 1m38.304s, but Leclerc – who had a half-spin early in the session and broke his rear wing backing his Sauber into the wall on the exit of Turn 19 – could only manage 11th and Magnussen 13th.

That allowed the Racing Point Force Indias of Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez to complete the top 10.

Ocon spent most of the session in the garage after identifying a possible engine problem early on.

At the end of the session Grosjean and the Toro Rosso of Pierre Gasly were involved in a peculiar clash at Turn 17.

Gasly pulled alongside the Haas on the entry to the corner and gesticulated at his fellow Frenchman just before the two cars made light contact.

Cla Driver Chassis Engine Laps Time Gap
1 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton  Mercedes Mercedes 17 1'37.176  
2 Finland Kimi Raikkonen  Ferrari Ferrari 18 1'37.464 0.288
3 Germany Sebastian Vettel  Ferrari Ferrari 15 1'37.587 0.411
4 Netherlands Max Verstappen  Red Bull TAG 15 1'37.747 0.571
5 Finland Valtteri Bottas  Mercedes Mercedes 16 1'37.933 0.757
6 Australia Daniel Ricciardo  Red Bull TAG 11 1'38.090 0.914
7 France Romain Grosjean  Haas Ferrari 13 1'38.304 1.128
8 Germany Nico Hulkenberg  Renault Renault 15 1'38.850 1.674
9 Spain Carlos Sainz Jr.  Renault Renault 16 1'38.970 1.794
10 France Esteban Ocon  Force India Mercedes 7 1'39.011 1.835
11 Mexico Sergio Perez  Force India Mercedes 15 1'39.053 1.877
12 New Zealand Brendon Hartley  Toro Rosso Honda 18 1'39.074 1.898
13 Monaco Charles Leclerc  Sauber Ferrari 10 1'39.282 2.106
14 Denmark Kevin Magnussen  Haas Ferrari 13 1'39.612 2.436
15 France Pierre Gasly  Toro Rosso Honda 12 1'39.740 2.564
16 Spain Fernando Alonso  McLaren Renault 13 1'39.974 2.798
17 Sweden Marcus Ericsson  Sauber Ferrari 20 1'39.997 2.821
18 Canada Lance Stroll  Williams Mercedes 18 1'40.117 2.941
19 Belgium Stoffel Vandoorne  McLaren Renault 14 1'40.233 3.057
20 Russian Federation Sergey Sirotkin  Williams Mercedes 22 1'41.182 4.006
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About this article

Series Formula 1
Event Abu Dhabi GP
Author Scott Mitchell