F1 – Bottas quickest in final practice at Losail ahead of Hamilton and Verstappen | Federation Internationale de l'Automobile
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F1 – Bottas quickest in final practice at Losail ahead of Hamilton and Verstappen

20.11.21

Valtteri Bottas headed a Mercedes one-two in final practice for the 2021 FIA Formula 1 Qatar Grand Prix, narrowly beating team-mate Lewis Hamilton by less than a tenth of a second, while Max Verstappen ended the session in third, almost four tenths of a second off the pace.

The session was red-flagged almost as soon as it started when Haas’ Nikita Mazepin stopped at the end of the pit lane and was told by his team to switch off the car. He was wheeled back to the garage where it was later revealed that the team would need to replace his car’s control electronics.

When the track went green, Bottas was quickly into the groove with a 1:24.019 set on soft tyres. Hamilton then edged ahead by five hundredths of a second to steal P1 as the pair set about trading fastest laps.

Verstappen made his first appearance as the session edged towards the half way mark, having spent a chunk of the opening half hour watching his team make adjustments to his rear wing. He soon jumped to the top of the timesheet with a lap of 1:23.121 but the rear wing could be seen wobbling at high speed in the DRS Zone.

Verstappen’s stay at the top was brief as both Hamilton and Bottas then went quicker, with Bottas leading the way with a time of 1:22.573.

The bulk of the field then retreated to the pit lane to take new softs for qualifying simulations.

And in those runs, Bottas stopped the watch at 1:22.310 to claim top spot by just 0.078s with Hamilton in second place. Red Bull again went to work on Verstappen’s wing during the lull and when he emerged he improved to 1:22.651 but that was 0.341 off Bottas and only good enough for third.

Pierre Gasly took fourth place for AlphaTauri with a very later flying lap of 1:22.835 that was a hundredths of a second ahead of Sergio Pérez in the second Red Bull.

Sainz was sixth for Ferrari, followed by Alpine’s Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon. Ninth place went to Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and Yuki Tsunoda completed the top 10 for AlphaTauri.

 

2021 FIA Formula 1 Qatar Grand Prix – Free Practice 3
1 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:22.310 17 235.305
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:22.388 0.078 16 235.082
3 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Honda 1:22.651 0.341 10 234.334
4 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri/Honda 1:22.835 0.525 17 233.814
5 Sergio Pérez Red Bull/Honda 1:22.846 0.536 14 233.783
6 Carlos Sainz Jr. Ferrari 1:23.048 0.738 17 233.214
7 Fernando Alonso Alpine/Renault 1:23.186 0.876 13 232.827
8 Esteban Ocon Alpine/Renault 1:23.209 0.899 18 232.763
9 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:23.276 0.966 17 232.576
10 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri/Honda 1:23.567 1.257 20 231.766
11 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren/Mercedes 1:23.711 1.401 14 231.367
12 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin/Mercedes 1:23.884 1.574 17 230.890
13 Lando Norris McLaren/Mercedes 1:23.895 1.585 16 230.860
14 George Russell Williams/Mercedes 1:23.923 1.613 17 230.782
15 Lance Stroll Aston Martin/Mercedes 1:24.154 1.844 17 230.149
16 Kimi Räikkönen Alfa Romeo/Ferrari 1:24.246 1.936 19 229.898
17 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo/Ferrari 1:24.288 1.978 17 229.783
18 Nicholas Latifi Williams/Mercedes 1:24.499 2.189 15 229.209
19 Mick Schumacher Haas/Ferrari 1:24.680 2.370 20 228.719
20 Nikita Mazepin Haas/Ferrari  1