Valtteri Bottas finished on top of the time charts at the 2021 Qatar Grand Prix in the third free practice session. Lewis Hamilton finished in second position with Max Verstappen in third position at the end of the session.
The sixty-minute long third free practice session started under sunny conditions at the Losail International Circuit with air temperatures at 27 degrees C and track temperatures at 38 degrees C.
The Pirelli tyre choice at this race is the white-striped hard compound tyres (C1), yellow-striped medium compound tyres (C2), and red-striped soft compound tyres (C3), the hardest compounds in the Pirelli tyre range.
The two Uralkali Haas F1 Team drivers, Nikita Mazepin and Mick Schumacher were the first drivers on the track. Mazepin missed the entire second free practice session as his chassis was changed.
Mazepin stopped at the end of the pitlane and briefly brought out the red flags as his car was retrieved.
Esteban Ocon set the first timed lap with a lap time of 1m24.864s. Fernando Alonso on the medium compound tyres went fastest with a lap time of 1m23.904s.
Hamilton went fastest on the soft compound tyres, 0.235 seconds faster than Bottas.
Verstappen finally came out of the garage with less than thirty-five minutes to go, the Dutchman went fastest with a lap time of 1m23.121s. Verstappen was just 0.031 seconds faster than arch-rival Hamilton at this stage.
Carlos Sainz, Bottas and Pierre Gasly were the drivers behind the top two drivers.
With less than twenty minutes to go, Bottas topped the timesheets with a lap of 1m22.573s, just 0.082s quicker than Hamilton. Verstappen was in third position 0.412 seconds behind Bottas.
With less than fifteen minutes to go in the session, the drivers bolted on a brand new set of soft compound tyres to make final qualification simulation runs.
Verstappen was again sat in the garage as mechanics were looking at his rear-wing as the top part of the wing was flapping when the DRS opened.
Charles Leclerc had a spin at Turn 2 on his first run. The two Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team drivers led by Bottas were on top of the time charts with Bottas 0.078 seconds faster than Hamilton. Pérez went third fastest behind them.
With less than five minutes to go, Verstappen finally came out of the garage and on his first flying lap went third fastest, 0.341 seconds behind Bottas.
The session ended with Bottas leading a Mercedes 1-2. Verstappen and Sergio Pérez were in third and fifth positions with Gasly splitting the two Red Bull Racing drivers.
Sainz was in sixth position with team-mate Leclerc in ninth position. The two Alpine F1 team drivers, Alonso and Ocon were in seventh and eighth positions.
Yuki Tsunoda rounded off the top ten positions at the end of the session.
The qualification session will take place under very different conditions under the lights. It is advantage Mercedes at the end of this session, but it is going to be a very close qualification session.
2021 Qatar Grand Prix FP3 Results:
|1||77||Valtteri Bottas||FIN||Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team||1:22.310||17|
|2||44||Lewis Hamilton||GBR||Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team||1:22.388||+0.078s||16|
|3||33||Max Verstappen||NED||Red Bull Racing||1:22.651||+0.341s||10|
|4||10||Pierre Gasly||FRA||Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda||1:22.835||+0.525s||17|
|5||11||Sergio Perez||MEX||Red Bull Racing||1:22.846||+0.536s||14|
|6||55||Carlos Sainz||ESP||Scuderia Ferrari||1:23.048||+0.738s||17|
|7||14||Fernando Alonso||ESP||Alpine F1 Team||1:23.186||+0.876s||13|
|8||31||Esteban Ocon||FRA||Alpine F1 Team||1:23.209||+0.899s||18|
|9||16||Charles Leclerc||MON||Scuderia Ferrari||1:23.276||+0.966s||17|
|10||22||Yuki Tsunoda||JAP||Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda||1:23.567||+1.257s||20|
|11||3||Daniel Ricciardo||AUS||McLaren F1 Team||1:23.711||+1.401s||14|
|12||5||Sebastian Vettel||GER||Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team||1:23.884||+1.574s||17|
|13||4||Lando Norris||GBR||McLaren F1 Team||1:23.895||+1.585s||16|
|14||63||George Russell||GBR||Williams Racing||1:23.923||+1.613s||17|
|15||18||Lance Stroll||CAN||Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team||1:24.154||+1.844s||17|
|16||7||Kimi Räikkönen||FIN||Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN||1:24.246||+1.936s||19|
|17||99||Antonio Giovinazzi||ITA||Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN||1:24.288||+1.978s||17|
|18||6||Nicholas Latifi||CAN||Williams Racing||1:24.499||+2.189s||15|
|19||47||Mick Schumacher||GER||Uralkali Haas F1 Team||1:24.680||+2.370s||20|
|20||9||Nikita Mazepin||RAF||Uralkali Haas F1 Team||1|