Abu Dhabi GP: Verstappen leads Albon in FP3

Max Verstappen closed out practice for the Formula 1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix quickest ahead of teammate Alexander Albon, as Lewis Hamilton could only finish sixth for Mercedes.

Abu Dhabi GP: Verstappen leads Albon in FP3
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The final practice session of the 2020 season saw Verstappen lead Red Bull back to the top of the timesheets, having trailed the Mercedes duo of Valtteri Bottas and Hamilton on Friday evening.

Following a 20-minute lull at the start of the session that saw no drivers take to the track, Verstappen was able to claim top spot with his first run on the soft tyres.

Verstappen shaved a further four-tenths of a second off his best lap time during a first qualifying simulation, outpacing Hamilton by three-tenths of a second, with Bottas sitting third after his initial effort.

After a second qualifying run saw Verstappen fall 0.011 seconds shy of his best time after a lock-up, the Dutchman managed to gain half a second with his final lap of the day.

The time of 1m36.251s comfortably gave Verstappen top spot in the final classification ahead of Albon in the sister Red Bull car, who made a late improvement to finish half a second off his teammate despite reporting “insane” understeer.

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Renault pair Daniel Ricciardo and Esteban Ocon took third and fourth respectively, separated by just 0.022 seconds, while Lando Norris finished fifth for McLaren.

Mercedes opted against doing any late qualifying simulations with either Hamilton or Bottas, meaning they were shuffled down to sixth and ninth place respectively, separated by Racing Point’s Lance Stroll and McLaren’s Carlos Sainz.

Sergio Perez rounded out the top 10 for Racing Point ahead of AlphaTauri’s Daniil Kvyat. Ferrari’s anticipated struggles continued as Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel finished 12th and 14th, with Pierre Gasly sandwiched between them in the final classification.

George Russell continued to adjust to life back at Williams, finishing 15th thanks to a late improvement on softs that put him almost a second clear of teammate Nicholas Latifi, who ended up 19th.

Alfa Romeo drivers Antonio Giovinazzi and Kimi Raikkonen finished 16th and 17th respectively, followed by Kevin Magnussen in the Haas.

Pietro Fittipaldi propped up the timesheets in 20th for Haas, lapping more than seven-tenths of a second off Magnussen’s time.

Results: Abu Dhabi Grand Prix 2020 - FP3

Cla Driver Laps Time Gap Interval km/h
1 Netherlands Max Verstappen 16 1'36.251     207.731
2 Thailand Alex Albon 15 1'36.752 0.501 0.501 206.656
3 Australia Daniel Ricciardo 12 1'36.877 0.626 0.125 206.389
4 France Esteban Ocon 15 1'36.899 0.648 0.022 206.342
5 United Kingdom Lando Norris 13 1'36.994 0.743 0.095 206.140
6 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton 16 1'37.012 0.761 0.018 206.102
7 Canada Lance Stroll 16 1'37.030 0.779 0.018 206.064
8 Spain Carlos Sainz Jr. 12 1'37.068 0.817 0.038 205.983
9 Finland Valtteri Bottas 16 1'37.085 0.834 0.017 205.947
10 Mexico Sergio Perez 13 1'37.227 0.976 0.142 205.646
11 Russian Federation Daniil Kvyat 17 1'37.266 1.015 0.039 205.564
12 Monaco Charles Leclerc 14 1'37.270 1.019 0.004 205.555
13 France Pierre Gasly 18 1'37.371 1.120 0.101 205.342
14 Germany Sebastian Vettel 16 1'37.728 1.477 0.357 204.592
15 United Kingdom George Russell 16 1'37.886 1.635 0.158 204.262
16 Italy Antonio Giovinazzi 16 1'37.900 1.649 0.014 204.232
17 Finland Kimi Raikkonen 16 1'38.269 2.018 0.369 203.465
18 Denmark Kevin Magnussen 14 1'38.457 2.206 0.188 203.077
19 Canada Nicholas Latifi 17 1'38.765 2.514 0.308 202.444
20 Brazil Pietro Fittipaldi 15 1'39.159 2.908 0.394 201.639
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