until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Formula 1

Verstappen dominates final practice of 2020, leads Red Bull 1-2

by Valentin Khorounzhiy
3 min read

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen led a Red Bull 1-2 in the final practice session of the 2020 Formula 1 season in Abu Dhabi, with the lead Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton only sixth.

Even by F1 practice standards, it was a particularly quiet start to the session, with no cars heading out onto the track in the first 16 minutes before the Williams of Nicholas Latifi finally broke the silence.

Red Bull’s initial runs left it with a 1-2 already at the half-hour mark, and though Hamilton slotted in between Verstappen and Alex Albon soon afterwards, Verstappen immediately followed that up with an improvement that left him 0.573s clear of the 2020 champion.

And though the two Mercedes drivers – whose W11 will sport revised liveries for the remainder of the weekend – switched to fresh softs before the Red Bull duo did, Hamilton and team-mate Valtteri Bottas still couldn’t get close to Verstappen’s existing benchmark, lapping three and five tenths adrift respectively and with Hamilton told the laptime losses were “mainly straightline”.

Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes F1

Soon, Verstappen returned to the track with fresh softs of his own, but the middle sector of his first push lap was messy and he wound up lapping 0.011s off his own best time, subsequently reporting that “the brakes were not the same”.

He made up for it, however, with a much improved follow-up attempt that stood at a 1m36.251s, marking the fastest laptime of the weekend so far and allowing him to comfortably top the proceedings.

Team-mate Alexander Albon likewise struggled on his first attempt on fresh tyres, reporting “insane understeer”, but regrouped to secure second place in the final minutes, 0.501s off Verstappen.

Daniel Ricciardo, Renault F1

Hamilton was shuffled down the order by a trio of Renault-powered cars soon after his effort, with the works Renault pair of Daniel Ricciardo and Esteban Ocon completing the top four behind the Red Bulls, and Lando Norris representing McLaren in fifth place.

Lance Stroll led Racing Point’s efforts in seventh, ahead of Norris’ team-mate Carlos Sainz and Bottas, who did improve on a follow-up attempt on softs to close the gap to Hamilton to less than a tenth.

The other Racing Point, that of Sergio Perez, was the last car within a second of Verstappen.

Practice 3 Results

Pos Name Car Best Time Gap Leader
1 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda 1m36.251s
2 Alex Albon Red Bull-Honda 1m36.752s +0.501s
3 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 1m36.877s +0.626s
4 Esteban Ocon Renault 1m36.899s +0.648s
5 Lando Norris McLaren-Renault 1m36.994s +0.743s
6 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m37.012s +0.761s
7 Lance Stroll Racing Point-Mercedes 1m37.03s +0.779s
8 Carlos Sainz McLaren-Renault 1m37.068s +0.817s
9 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1m37.085s +0.834s
10 Sergio Pérez Racing Point-Mercedes 1m37.227s +0.976s
11 Daniil Kvyat AlphaTauri-Honda 1m37.266s +1.015s
12 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1m37.27s +1.019s
13 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri-Honda 1m37.371s +1.12s
14 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m37.728s +1.477s
15 George Russell Williams-Mercedes 1m37.886s +1.635s
16 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1m37.9s +1.649s
17 Kimi Räikkönen Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1m38.269s +2.018s
18 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 1m38.457s +2.206s
19 Nicholas Latifi Williams-Mercedes 1m38.765s +2.514s
20 Pietro Fittipaldi Haas-Ferrari 1m39.159s +2.908s
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