Red Bull Racing's Sergio Perez set the benchmark in the third and final practice for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, pipping his team mate Max Verstappen with the Mercedes duo of Lewis Hamilton and George Russell ending up third and fourth fastest.
The final practice for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix took part in full daylight conditions, making the session less representative as qualifying and race are set to start when the sun begins to set.
Interestingly, the Ferrari drivers were among the first to hit the track as the Scuderia wanted to carry out a heavy fuel run in the middle part of the session following their issues with tyre degradation in yesterday’s second practice.
When drivers started their qualifying simulation in the second half of the session, Sergio Perez set the benchmark with a 1m24.982s, 0.152s clear of two-time world champion Verstappen, who started his preparation for the final qualifying very late into the session as we was waiting for the track temperatures to drop and thus become more representative.
Lewis Hamilton ended up third-fastest and 0.240s down on Verstappen, with his Mercedes teammate George Russell a further two-tenths back in fourth. The seven-time world champion opted for a higher downforce setup for his W13 while his teammate Russell went for a lower downforce configuration for Free Practice 3.
The two Ferraris ended up sixth and seventh fastest with Sainz pipping Leclerc by 0.001s. Both drivers seemed to be unhappy with the behaviour of their SF-75, complaining about the front tyres on their qualifying simulation.
McLaren’s Lando Norris managed to go faster than the Ferraris, taking fifth. His team mate Daniel Ricciardo finished three places behind, four tenths of a second adrift of his Bristol-born stablemate.
Sebastian Vettel reported a front-right brake fire on the team radio, but completed the session without any interruptions. The German, who is set to complete his final and 299th grand prix tomorrow, took ninth while his team mate Lance Stroll ended the session in P16.
Williams racer Alexnader Albon constantly showed great pace in Free Practice 3, ending the session in an eye-catching 10th position. His team mate Nicholas Latifi appeared to be quick in the high-speed sections of the track, but his best effort saw him take P20 in the end.
Finishing P11 and P12, Alpine pair of Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso were split by 0.0003s. Yuki Tsunoda took 13th for AlphaTauri while his team mate Pierre Gasly finished the session 15th quickest. The Frenchman endured problems halfway into the session when the winglet over the front-right wheel of his AlphaTauri flew off with the debris landing on the exit kerb of Turn 9. The incident brought out the red flag so the marshals could recover the piece of debris.
|1||11||Sergio Perez||Red Bull Racing Rbpt||1:24.982||15|
|2||1||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing Rbpt||1:25.134||+0.152s||15|
|5||4||Lando Norris||Mclaren Mercedes||1:25.518||+0.536s||16|
|8||3||Daniel Ricciardo||Mclaren Mercedes||1:25.950||+0.968s||18|
|9||5||Sebastian Vettel||Aston Martin Aramco Mercedes||1:26.012||+1.030s||13|
|10||23||Alexander Albon||Williams Mercedes||1:26.051||+1.069s||16|
|11||31||Esteban Ocon||Alpine Renault||1:26.073||+1.091s||17|
|12||14||Fernando Alonso||Alpine Renault||1:26.076||+1.094s||18|
|13||22||Yuki Tsunoda||Alphatauri Rbpt||1:26.170||+1.188s||19|
|14||77||Valtteri Bottas||Alfa Romeo Ferrari||1:26.189||+1.207s||17|
|15||10||Pierre Gasly||Alphatauri Rbpt||1:26.239||+1.257s||12|
|16||18||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin Aramco Mercedes||1:26.298||+1.316s||20|
|17||20||Kevin Magnussen||Haas Ferrari||1:26.356||+1.374s||21|
|18||47||Mick Schumacher||Haas Ferrari||1:26.473||+1.491s||19|
|19||24||Zhou Guanyu||Alfa Romeo Ferrari||1:26.482||+1.500s||17|
|20||6||Nicholas Latifi||Williams Mercedes||1:26.646||+1.664s||14|