It was advantage Mercedes ahead of the inaugural Qatar Grand Prix qualifying session, with Valtteri Bottas carrying over his impressive form from Friday to lead a dominant one-two for the Silver Arrows in Free Practice 3 ahead of Lewis Hamilton – with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen over three-tenths adrift of the Finn in P3.
With conditions continuing hot and sunny at the 5.38km Losail International Circuit, FP3 had barely started before it was red flagged, as Nikita Mazepin – who was forced to sit out FP2 after Haas changed his chassis following substantial floor damage earned in the opening practice session – stopped just after the pit exit, Mazepin now suffering an issue on his power controller.
Following a brief stoppage, the drivers got down to the business of lapping in the balmy afternoon heat. With qualifying expected to be crucial around the narrow, twisting Losail track, the teams focused on dialling in their one-lap pace ahead of the Saturday evening session, with Bottas going fastest after the first set of runs at the halfway point in the 60-minute session.
But Bottas then improved his pace in the final minutes of the session, ultimately stopping the clocks with the fastest lap seen at the Losail International Circuit, a 1m 22.310s effort that was 0.078s fastest than Hamilton could manage.
FORMULA 1 OOREDOO QATAR GRAND PRIX 2021
Practice 3 results
|3 MaxVERSTAPPENRed Bull Racing||+0.341s|
|5 SergioPEREZRed Bull Racing||+0.536s|