Sergio Perez outpaced his teammate Max Verstappen in the final practice session of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix after Verstappen was the fastest in FP2. The Mexican posted a time of 1:24.982, which was 0.152s faster than Verstappen’s best time. Lewis Hamilton and George Russell finished behind the Red Bull pair making the Qualifying a highly anticipated event of a straight fight for the pole between Mercedes and Red Bull. Lando Norris finished the session at an impressive P5 ahead of the two Ferraris of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz. Daniel Ricciardo also looked impressive finishing FP3 at P8. Sebastian Vettel and Alex Albon rounded up the top 10.
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Gasly suffered a Puncture
Lewis Hamilton came under scrutiny from the stewards after failing to slow down during a Red Flag incident. The Red Flag was caused after a wheel brow of Pierre Gasly’s Alpha Tauri detached from his car, flew off, and was lying on the track. The resulting loss component of Gasly’s car also caused a front right puncture for him.
Lewis Hamilton escaped penalty from stewards
Lewis Hamilton, at that time, was overtaking the McLaren of Lando Norris and later the Haas of Kevin Magnussen. At that time, it looked probable that Hamilton would be hit with some penalty for failing to slow down under Red Flag conditions. However, later investigations exonerated him from any wrongdoing, and his telemetry data showed that Hamilton took every reasonable action to slow down.
Some other notable events of the session included Lando Norris reporting a fire on the front left brake of his McLaren. The British driver had to return to the pits to resolve the issue. Sebastian Vettel also reported a similar issue during the session. Estaban Ocon gave spectators some spectacle after he spun his Alpine at Turn 14.
Ferrari suffering from Porpoising again
Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz saw a ghost from their recent past returning to haunt them again. Both Ferraris complained of porpoising throughout the final practice session. “Loads of oscillation on the engine off throttle”: Leclerc reported to his pit wall.