FP3: Bottas tops final practice as Mercedes dominates again in Qatar

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Qatar, Losail International Circuitqa

Valtteri Bottas led a dominant Mercedes 1-2 ahead of championship leader Max Verstappen in the third and final practice session for the Qatar Grand Prix.

After a Mercedes-dominated opening day for the Qatar Grand Prix, it was no surprise to see the reigning world champions come out on top in the final practice ahead of the afternoon’s quaifying. Using two sets of soft tyres, Valtteri Bottas set the best time of the weekend to head a Mercedes one-two in front of his team mate Lewis Hamilton.

Championship title Max Verstappen was on the back foot again as he encountered issues with the rear wing of his RB16B, which meant that he only completed 10 laps in the session, the least amount of laps expect Haas driver Nikita Mazepin, who has suffered an issue on his power controller. The Russian driver has racked up only a small number of laps after he was also forced to sit out yesterday’s Free Practice 2 when his team needed to his chassis following substantial floor damage.

Coming back to the title fight, Red Bull seems to be significantly slower than Mercedes again after the Brazilian Grand Prix which saw the Anglo-German team’s car enjoy a significant top-speed advantage on the long straights of the Interlagos track.

AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly was the surprise man again with the Frenchman setting the fourth fastest lap, edging Red Bull’s Mexican driver Sergio Perez.

Ferrari was fast yesterday on the long runs, but less so in short trim. The Scuderia was, therefore, adamant to make a few tweaks to the setup of its SF21 to become more competitive in qualifying trim. Carlos Sainz proved that the changes seem to work with the Spaniard finishing sixth fastest, three places ahead of his team mate Charles Leclerc.

Alpine continued to impress with their great one-lap pace. Fernando Alonso took 7th, pipping his team mate Esteban Ocon. The Alfa Romeos of Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi were 16th and 17th, ahead of Latifi, Schumacher and Mazepin


177Valtteri BottasMercedes1:22.31017
244Lewis HamiltonMercedes1:22.388+0.078s16
333Max VerstappenRed Bull Racing Honda1:22.651+0.341s10
410Pierre GaslyAlphatauri Honda1:22.835+0.525s17
511Sergio PerezRed Bull Racing Honda1:22.846+0.536s14
655Carlos SainzFerrari1:23.048+0.738s17
714Fernando AlonsoAlpine Renault1:23.186+0.876s13
831Esteban OconAlpine Renault1:23.209+0.899s18
916Charles LeclercFerrari1:23.276+0.966s17
1022Yuki TsunodaAlphatauri Honda1:23.567+1.257s20
113Daniel RicciardoMclaren Mercedes1:23.711+1.401s14
125Sebastian VettelAston Martin Mercedes1:23.884+1.574s17
134Lando NorrisMclaren Mercedes1:23.895+1.585s16
1463George RussellWilliams Mercedes1:23.923+1.613s17
1518Lance StrollAston Martin Mercedes1:24.154+1.844s17
167Kimi RäikkönenAlfa Romeo Racing Ferrari1:24.246+1.936s19
1799Antonio GiovinazziAlfa Romeo Racing Ferrari1:24.288+1.978s17
186Nicholas LatifiWilliams Mercedes1:24.499+2.189s15
1947Mick SchumacherHaas Ferrari1:24.680+2.370s20
209Nikita MazepinHaas Ferrari1