- Max Verstappen [Copyright: Red Bull Content Pool]

Red Bull Racing's Max Verstappen headed FP3 of F1 Abu Dhabi GP after a late lap to push Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton to second with Valtteri Bottas in third.

It was a Mercedes on top, almost, in FP3 of F1 Abu Dhabi GP at Yas Marina circuit but for the late push lap from Red Bull's Verstappen (1m36.566s) dropped Hamilton (1m36.640s) and Bottas (1m36.655s) to second and third respectively.

It was a mere 0.074s separating Verstappen and Hamilton with Bottas a further 0.015s away. The Finn had a fifth power unit element fitted to its car by Mercedes after the new one had issues as well. He is to start from the back of the grid.

The Ferrari drivers slotted in third and fourth initially but the late changes dropped them to fifth and sixth as Red Bull's Alexander Albon (1m36.927s) improved to be fourth. The Thai racer was caught out by a Renault in the right-hander.

It was Sebastian Vettel (1m36.975s) in fifth from Charles Leclerc (1m37.010s) but interestingly both ran the medium compound to set their best time with Racing Point's Sergio Perez (1m37.516s) leading the best of the rest.

It looked like that the Mexican had shed oil with Alfa Romeo Racing's Kimi Raikkonen's camera full wet. Renault's Daniel Ricciardo (1m37.615s) was eighth with McLaren's Carlos Sainz (1m37.691s) ninth and Toro Rosso's Pierre Gasly (1m37.736s) 10th.

The other Toro Rosso of Daniil Kvyat (1m37.963s) was 12th with Haas' Romain Grosjean (1m37.768s) in between as McLaren's Lando Norris (1m38.100s) ended up 13th from Haas' Kevin Magnussen (1m38.198s) while Racing Point's Lance Stroll (1m38.462s) was 15th.

Norris couldn't improve on his lap time as he went off on his quick lap but McLaren practiced tow on the other straight for qualifying. Renault's Nico Hulkenberg (1m38.580s) also flat-spotted his tyres to be only 17th.

The German was sandwiched by the Alfa Romeo cars with Raikkonen (1m38.514s) ahead and Antonio Giovinazzi (1m38.782s) behind, while Williams' George Russell (1m39.206s) was 19th and Robert Kubica (1m39.859s) 20th.

[Image courtesy: Red Bull Content Pool] [Note: This report was also written by me on FormulaRapida.net]

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