Verstappen tops final practice in Abu Dhabi

Max Verstappen
Max Verstappen

The final practice in Abu Dhabi saw an interesting session, with the top three teams completing slightly different strategies. With Ferrari concentrating on the medium compound tire to see if it is fast enough to make it thru Q2, that left Mercedes and Red Bull to tussle it out on the softer reds and it was the Dutchman Max Verstappen who came out on top.

Verstappen's second flying lap at the end of the session was fastest with a 1m 36.566s, 0.074s ahead of World Champion Lewis Hamilton and 0.089s ahead of Valtteri Bottas in the 2nd Mercedes.

Alex Albon was 4th quick in the 2nd Red Bull while the Ferraris of Vettel and Leclerc wound up fifth and sixth after choosing to spend much of the session on the medium compound tire, with Sergio Perez an impressive 'best of the rest' despite dropping some oil late on from the back of his RP19. Daniel Ricciardo was a tenth slower for Renault in P8.

Rounding out the top 10 were Carlos Sainz Jr. in ninth and Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly.

So with the sun setting midway through qualifying, it is shaping up to be an epic fight between Hamilton and Verstappen – unless Ferrari have a higher engine mode up their sleeves for later on.

Practice 3 Results

1 33 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing Honda 1:36.566 +0.000s 14
2 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:36.640 +0.074s 17
3 77 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:36.655 +0.089s 16
4 23 Alexander Albon Red Bull Racing Honda 1:36.927 +0.361s 17
5 5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:36.975 +0.409s 14
6 16 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:37.010 +0.444s 15
7 11 Sergio Perez Racing Point Bwt Mercedes 1:37.516 +0.950s 15
8 3 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 1:37.615 +1.049s 13
9 55 Carlos Sainz Jr. McLaren Renault 1:37.691 +1.125s 21
10 10 Pierre Gasly Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda 1:37.736 +1.170s 16
11 8 Romain Grosjean Haas Ferrari 1:37.768 +1.202s 11
12 26 Daniil Kvyat Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda 1:37.963 +1.397s 17
13 4 Lando Norris McLaren Renault 1:38.100 +1.534s 17
14 20 Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari 1:38.198 +1.632s 11
15 18 Lance Stroll Racing Point Bwt Mercedes 1:38.462 +1.896s 15
16 7 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari 1:38.514 +1.948s 20
17 27 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1:38.580 +2.014s 13
18 99 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari 1:38.782 +2.216s 17
19 63 George Russell Williams Mercedes 1:39.206 +2.640s 15
20 88 Robert Kubica Williams Mercedes 1:39.859 +3.293s 16

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