Verstappen edges Hamilton in final practice session of the season

by Harry Slade
Max Verstappen

Max Verstappen edged out the Mercedes AMG Petronas duo to take the fastest time in the final practice session of the season in Abu Dhabi.

The Dutchman went fastest of all after multiple runs late in the session to dislodge Lewis Hamilton‘s earlier effort from the top of the timesheet.

Valtteri Bottas continued to show strong form around the Yas Marina Circuit as the Finn rounded out the top tree – still within a tenth of Verstappen’s benchmark effort.

Alex Albon was an impressive fourth in the second of the Red Bull pair, as the Thai-continues to make gains in his rookie campaign.

Scuderia Ferrari ran under the radar in the final practice session, with Sebastian Vettel leading Charles Leclerc in fifth and sixth respectively – just over four tenths down.

However, the Maranello outfits best laptimes were set on the slower – but more durable – Medium compound tyres as the scene is set for a three-way battle for Pole in qualifying.

Sergio Perez was best of the rest for racing Point, just ahead of Daniel Ricciardo in the lead Renault.

The two combatants for sixth in the championship rounded out the top ten, with Carlos Sainz Jr. narrowly outpacing Pierre Gasly for ninth.

Romain Grosjean continued his strong form in Abu Dhabi, just ahead of the second Toro Rosso of Daniil Kvyat.

Lando Norris and Kevin Magnussen were thirteenth and fourteenth respectively as both struggled compared to their respective team-mates.

Lance Stroll was a lowly fifteenth in the second Racing Point, just ahead of Kimi Raikkonen as Alfa Romeo continued to struggle.

Nico Hulkenberg was seventeenth for Renault in his final practice session for the team.

The German locked up on his qualifying simulations and that hampered his final position.

Antonio Giovinazzi was eighteenth, just ahead of the ROKit Williams Racing pairing, as George Russell out-paced Robert Kubica.

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