F1 Abu Dhabi GP: Verstappen leads Albon in final practice

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

F1 Abu Dhabi GP: Verstappen leads Albon in final practice

Verstappen led Red Bull back to the top of the timesheets in the final practice session of the 2020 season, having trailed the Mercedes duo of Valtteri Bottas and Hamilton on Friday evening.

Following a 20-minute lull at the start of the session, when no drivers took 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 Verstappen fell 0.011 seconds shy of his best time after a lock-up on a second qualifying run, 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 team-mate despite reporting "insane" understeer.

Renault pair Daniel Ricciardo and Esteban Ocon took third and fourth respectively, separated by just 0.022s, 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 Jr.

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 team-mate 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.

Abu Dhabi FP3 result

Pos Driver Team Gap
1 Max Verstappen Aston Martin Red Bull Racing 1m36.251s
2 Alexander Albon Aston Martin Red Bull Racing 0.501s
3 Daniel Ricciardo Renault DP World F1 Team 0.626s
4 Esteban Ocon Renault DP World F1 Team 0.648s
5 Lando Norris McLaren F1 Team 0.743s
6 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team 0.761s
7 Lance Stroll BWT Racing Point F1 Team 0.779s
8 Carlos Sainz Jr. McLaren F1 Team 0.817s
9 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team 0.834s
10 Sergio Perez BWT Racing Point F1 Team 0.976s
11 Daniil Kvyat Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda 1.015s
12 Charles Leclerc Scuderia Ferrari 1.019s
13 Pierre Gasly Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda 1.120s
14 Sebastian Vettel Scuderia Ferrari 1.477s
15 George Russell Williams Racing 1.635s
16 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN 1.649s
17 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN 2.018s
18 Kevin Magnussen Haas F1 Team 2.206s
19 Nicholas Latifi Williams Racing 2.514s
20 Pietro Fittipaldi Haas F1 Team 2.908s


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