Thu. Oct 21st, 2021

Max Verstappen topped the final practice session of 2020 as he went quickest in FP3 in Abu Dhabi, ahead of Alex Albon and Daniel Ricciardo. Mercedes didn’t have their best session, with Lewis Hamilton sixth and Valtteri Bottas ninth.

It was an extremely slow start to the session, with the track empty for nearly 20 minutes before Nicholas Latifi broke the silence.

It was Red Bull who set the best laps in the first runs, with Verstappen setting the quickest time and Albon just a few tenths slower in P2.

Hamilton improved to split the pair, but Verstappen then pushed really hard, going half a second clear of the returning champion.

Bottas was next to improve, briefly sitting third before Hamilton overtook him again.

George Russell, moved back to Williams this weekend, seemed like he was still in the Mercedes when he momentarily went fifth on the timesheets, before falling back down again.

With ten minutes to go, the midfield teams decided to turn up the heat, with Lando Norris taking P2 before Daniel Ricciardo took it away from him and then Esteban Ocon relegated the Brit to fourth.

Albon had been complaining of understeer, but put in a solid lap towards the end of the session to join his teammate in the top two.

Ricciardo was third ahead of teammate Ocon and Norris. Hamilton was P6, with Stroll and Sainz just behind him. Bottas could only manage P9, with last week’s race winner Sergio Perez in tenth.

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