Lewis Hamilton topped the third free practice session at the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Max Verstappen was in second position ahead of Valtteri Bottas at the end of the final practice session.
The third free practice session (FP3) started at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi with air temperatures at 26 degrees C and track temperatures at 39 degrees C.
The qualification session starts as the sun sets and the track temperatures will be ten degrees cooler and the tyre behavior will be very different at that time.
The Pirelli tyre choice at this race is the white-striped hard compound tyres (C3), yellow-striped medium compound tyres (C4), and red-striped soft compound tyres (C5), the softest compounds in the Pirelli tyre range.
Mick Schumacher and Esteban Ocon were the first drivers on the track. Ocon set the first timed lap of 1m26.645s.
Verstappen came out on the medium compound tyres with a low downforce rear-wing. Verstappen went to the top of the time charts with a lap time of 1m24.997s.
Hamilton came out a bit later than the other drivers as the mechanics worked on his brakes. Hamilton and Bottas were on the soft compound tyres.
Bottas went second behind Verstappen with a lap time of 1m25.290s. Hamilton then went to the top of the time charts with a lap time of 1m24.241s.
Bottas went to the top of the time charts, just 0.03 seconds faster than Hamilton. Hamilton then set a blistering lap time of 1m23.274s, a margin of over 0.8 seconds from Bottas in second position.
Verstappen’s rear-wing was changed and he came out for his first run on the soft compound tyres with fifteen minutes to go. The Dutchman aborted his first flying lap and on his second attempt went 0.214 seconds slower than Hamilton.
Hamilton was ahead of Verstappen and Bottas at the end of the session. In the dying minutes of the session, Sergio Pérez went fourth with a lap time which was 0.773 seconds slower than Hamilton.
Yuki Tsunoda continued his good form this weekend and was behind Lando Norris in sixth position. Pierre Gasly was behind his team-mate in seventh position.
The two Scuderia Ferrari drivers, Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc, were in eighth and tenth positions. Daniel Ricciardo was in ninth position.
A tricky session for all the teams as the qualifying session will have very different conditions to this session. At this track, track position is all-important and the drivers will be under a lot of pressure.
2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix FP3 Results:
|1||44||Lewis Hamilton||GBR||Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team||1:23.274||22|
|2||33||Max Verstappen||NED||Red Bull Racing||1:23.488||+0.214s||23|
|3||77||Valtteri Bottas||FIN||Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team||1:24.025||+0.751s||21|
|4||11||Sergio Perez||MEX||Red Bull Racing||1:24.047||+0.773s||20|
|5||4||Lando Norris||GBR||McLaren F1 Team||1:24.106||+0.832s||16|
|6||22||Yuki Tsunoda||JAP||Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda||1:24.223||+0.949s||21|
|7||10||Pierre Gasly||FRA||Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda||1:24.251||+0.977s||22|
|8||55||Carlos Sainz||ESP||Scuderia Ferrari||1:24.595||+1.321s||19|
|9||3||Daniel Ricciardo||AUS||McLaren F1 Team||1:24.733||+1.459s||15|
|10||16||Charles Leclerc||MON||Scuderia Ferrari||1:24.758||+1.484s||20|
|11||18||Lance Stroll||CAN||Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team||1:24.821||+1.547s||21|
|12||31||Esteban Ocon||FRA||Alpine F1 Team||1:24.834||+1.560s||17|
|13||7||Kimi Räikkönen||FIN||Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN||1:25.037||+1.763s||22|
|14||99||Antonio Giovinazzi||ITA||Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN||1:25.048||+1.774s||17|
|15||14||Fernando Alonso||ESP||Alpine F1 Team||1:25.094||+1.820s||19|
|16||5||Sebastian Vettel||GER||Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team||1:25.115||+1.841s||24|
|17||63||George Russell||GBR||Williams Racing||1:25.220||+1.946s||21|
|18||6||Nicholas Latifi||CAN||Williams Racing||1:25.322||+2.048s||18|
|19||47||Mick Schumacher||GER||Uralkali Haas F1 Team||1:25.340||+2.066s||17|
|20||9||Nikita Mazepin||RAF||Uralkali Haas F1 Team||1:26.332||+3.058s||18|