Saturday, March 6, 2021

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

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