F1 – Russell Tops Final Practice Session In Abu Dhabi Ahead Of Norris And Piastri

F1 – Russell Tops Final Practice Session In Abu Dhabi Ahead Of Norris And Piastri

Mercedes’ George Russell set the quickest lap of the final practice for the 2023 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix beating McLaren’s Lando Norris by less than a tenths of a second as both Red Bull and Ferrari struggled for balance.

Russell took top spot from Red Bull’s Sergio Pérez midway through the session and then made a series of improvements on Soft tyre runs to eventually set the benchmark at 1:24.418.

Williams’ Alex Albon got close, posting a lap of 1:24.929 to get to within a couple of tenths of Russell, but the Mercedes driver put distance between himself and his rivals with his session best time.

It was left to McLaren pair Norris and Oscar Piastri to take the fight to Russell, and Norris got closest, posting a lap of 1:24.513 to sit just 0.095s off the Mercedes. The lead McLaren driver might have taken top spot but suffered a snap on the exit of Turn 16 and lost time.

Piastri, meanwhile, jumped to third place, 0.392 off Russell.

Albon managed to hold on to fourth place ahead of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, both of whom were unhappy with the set-up of their cars. Leclerc was told he had lost time in sector one to Russell and fourth tenths to Russell in the final third  prompting the Monegasque to say he didn’t understand what was causing the deficit.

Verstappen, meanwhile, was unhappy throughout, returning to the Red Bull several times to make front end adjustments as he complained that his car was “sliding a lot”. The champion’s best of 1:25.153 at the end left him in P6, 0.7s off Russell.

Seventh place went to Alpine’s Esteban Ocon, with Logan Sargeant joining Williams team-mate Albon in the top 10 with a best time of 1:25.205 that proved good enough for P8 ahead of AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda and Alfa Romeo’s Zhou Guanyu.

Sergio Pérez was 11th in the second Red Bull, just 0.033s clear of Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, with Pierre Gasly in P12 for Alpine ahead of the Aston Martin cars of Fernando Alonso and Lance Stroll. Further back Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz, who crashed heavily in FP2, propped up the timesheet in P20.

2023 FIA Formula 1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – Free Practice 3
1 George Russell Mercedes 1:24.418 14 225.207
2 Lando Norris McLaren 1:24.513 0.095 16 224.954
3 Oscar Piastri McLaren 1:24.810 0.392 16 224.166
4 Alexander Albon Williams 1:24.929 0.511 17 223.852
5 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:25.099 0.681 26 223.405
6 Max Verstappen Red Bull 1:25.153 0.735 18 223.264
7 Esteban Ocon Alpine 1:25.194 0.776 18 223.156
8 Logan Sargeant Williams 1:25.205 0.787 16 223.127
9 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri 1:25.222 0.804 15 223.083
10 Zhou Guanyu Alfa Romeo 1:25.258 0.840 23 222.989
11 Sergio Pérez Red Bull 1:25.259 0.841 21 222.986
12 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:25.292 0.874 25 222.900
13 Pierre Gasly Alpine 1:25.303 0.885 18 222.871
14 Fernando Alonso Aston Martin 1:25.343 0.925 25 222.766
15 Lance Stroll Aston Martin 1:25.405 0.987 24 222.605
16 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo 1:25.420 1.002 16 222.566
17 Nico Hülkenberg Haas 1:25.584 1.166 22 222.139
18 Daniel Ricciardo AlphaTauri 1:25.597 1.179 15 222.105
19 Kevin Magnussen Haas 1:25.652 1.234 20 221.963
20 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 1:25.713 1.295 29 221.805

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