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FP3: Verstappen leads Red Bull 1-2 ahead of Renault duo in final Abu Dhabi practice session

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ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - DECEMBER 12: Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (33)

Max Verstappen made a statement of intent as he went fastest for Red Bull in the final practice session for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, 0.501s ahead of team mate Alex Albon, as Renault's Daniel Ricciardo and Esteban Ocon finished third and fourth respectively. Neither Mercedes was in the top five.

Verstappen led most of FP3 and improved at the end of the session with a final benchmark of 1m36.251s – a lap set on six-lap-old soft compound tyres. He was followed by Albon, though the Thai driver was half a second off the pace in the second Red Bull.

Friday Pace Analysis: Who has the edge in midfield as the teams' battle for P3 comes to a head?

Renault filed in third – thanks to Daniel Ricciardo – and fourth courtesy of Esteban Ocon, who was just 0.022s off his team mate. McLaren's Lando Norris, who began flying laps on medium compounds, switched to softs late on and finished fifth overall – under a tenth off Ocon.

That left Lewis Hamilton sixth while Valtteri Bottas was eighth, a significant 0.834s off Verstappen, for Mercedes.

Abu Dhabi 2020

Practice 3 results

PositionTeam NameTime
1VER1:36.251
2ALB+0.501s
3RIC+0.626s
4OCO+0.648s
5NOR+0.743s
View Full Results

FP3 Highlights: 2020 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Between Mercedes' Hamilton and Bottas was Racing Point's Lance Stroll in P6 and McLaren's Carlos Sainz in P7. Sakhir Grand Prix winner Sergio Perez, who will start last in Sunday's race thanks to grid penalties picked up for a power unit change, rounded out the top 10.

AlphaTauri had Daniil Kvyat 11th and Pierre Gasly 13th, and continued their rivalry with Ferrari as Charles Leclerc finished 12th fastest and Sebastian Vettel 14th.

READ MORE: Mercedes reveal special livery honouring each member of the team

Williams returnee George Russell, who had an MGU-K faillure in FP2, took 15th overall with his team mate Nicholas Latifi 19th.

The Alfa Romeos lined up behind Russell; Antonio Giovinazzi 16th ahead of veteran team mate Kimi Raikkonen. And Haas rounded out the standings with Pietro Fittipaldi last and seven-tenths behind his 18th-place team mate Kevin Magnussen.

Qualifying begins at 1700 local time at the stunning Yas Marina Circuit. Who will take pole in the 2020 Formula 1 season finale? Follow the session live right here on F1.com to find out...

Change your F1 Fantasy team for the final F1 race of the season here

Free preview: Tech Talk at the Abu Dhabi GP - Wings, nuts & ton up for Haas

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