FP3: Verstappen splits Mercedes duo in final practice at Mugello
Valtteri Bottas completed a clean sweep of the Tuscan Grand Prix practice sessions with the fastest lap of FP3 – but Red Bull's Max Verstappen managed to split the Mercedes cars by setting the second quickest time, just ahead of Lewis Hamilton.
Bottas was fastest in both Friday sessions and wasted no time on Saturday morning by setting the first flying lap in FP3. He was already leading the session halfway through but improved to an ultimate time of 1m16.530s – 0.017s faster than Verstappen and 0.083s faster than Hamilton.
READ MORE: Friday Pace Analysis – Why things are looking better for Ferrari at their 1000th GP
Verstappen bolted on a set of soft tyres in the dying minutes of the session and improved by half a second from his medium tyre benchmark to take P2, as he looks to get in amongst the two Silver Arrows in this afternoon's fight for pole.
That put Racing Point's Lance Stroll down to P4, 0.582s off. His car has new bargeboards, but team mate Sergio Perez has not got the new parts this weekend. They finished nearly four-tenths apart as Perez took sixth – and Italian Grand Prix winner Pierre Gasly split them for P5 in his AlphaTauri.
Charles Leclerc was the last driver within a second of Bottas to take P7 for Ferrari ahead of their landmark 1000th Grand Prix, with his team mate Sebastian Vettel six-tenths behind in P18.
READ MORE: Mugello filming day gave Ferrari an edge, says Leclerc after 'positive' Friday performance
AlphaTauri's Daniil Kvyat took P9 as Red Bull driver Alex Albon improved after the chequered flag had flown, the Thai driver 1.008s off top spot in eighth.
Romain Grosjean rounded out the top 10 for Haas, his team mate Kevin Magnussen 15th, but ahead of the Renaults of Esteban Ocon and Daniel Ricciardo. They spent most of the session on mediums but improved on softs, taking 11th and 17th, respectively.
FORMULA 1 PIRELLI GRAN PREMIO DELLA TOSCANA FERRARI 1000 2020
Practice 3 results
|1 Valtteri Bottas BOT Mercedes||1:16.530|
|2 Max Verstappen VER Red Bull Racing||+0.017s|
|3 Lewis Hamilton HAM Mercedes||+0.083s|
|4 Lance Stroll STR Racing Point||+0.582s|
|5 Pierre Gasly GAS AlphaTauri||+0.696s|
McLaren's Carlos Sainz took 12th and his team mate Lando Norris 19th as the papaya team struggled for pace after their stellar race at Monza last weekend. Norris of course crashed in FP2, but the damage to his car was minor and did not hold him up on Saturday moring.
The Alfa Romeos lined up 13th and 14th, with Antonio Giovinazzi ahead of Kimi Raikkonen.
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Williams' George Russell finished last with a brake-by-wire issue keeping him in the garage after a single out lap. His team mate Nicholas Latifi managed 16th, ahead of Ricciardo's Renault, Vettel's Ferrari and Norris's McLaren.
So the practice sessions are all done, with Bottas leading all three at the Tuscan track – but can he convert that form into pole, or will Hamilton find some speed to nail yet another pole position? And can Verstappen muscle his way into that fight? We'll have live coverage of qualifying for the Tuscan Grand Prix right here on F1.com so make sure you don't miss a thing.
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