Lewis Hamilton was the fastest driver in the final free practice session of the 2021 Formula 1 season.

Saturday afternoon was the final opportunity for the drivers to gather necessary data and find an optimal set-up for both qualifying and race.

Max Verstappen took the early lead in the session, ahead of Kimi Raikkonen and Esteban Ocon. A couple of minutes later, the Dutchman improved his lap time on medium tires.

The other championship leader Lewis Hamilton made his first outing on soft tires, so he was more than half a second quicker than Verstappen. The Mercedes driver eventually went even quicker. 25 minutes into the session, his teammate Valtteri Bottas got slightly ahead of Hamilton. However, he responded with a lap that was 0.751 seconds faster than Bottas’. Furthermore, it was 1.5 seconds quicker than Verstappen’s and Sergio Perez’s, who were 3rd and 4th respectively.

Red Bull was struggling with rear wings again – they decided to change one on Verstappen’s car. The specification with more downforce was installed. Christian Horner revealed during the session that the change was related to a “reliability issue”.

Carlos Sainz had a good lap on medium tires, which allowed him to beat both Red Bulls and move up to third in the timesheets. Shortly after, Yuki Tsunoda got even closer to the Mercedes duo.

Verstappen finally started his program on the soft tires. However, he aborted his first attempt. Later on, the Dutchman set his first lap time on softs. He went up to P2, just 2 tenths away from Hamilton. More than that, he got the quickest final sector time.

Hamilton and Nikita Mazepin had another on-track encounter – the Haas driver had to avoid the Mercedes car once again.

Verstappen continued his soft tire run. He was set to improve his lap time, but made a mistake at turn 9 and therefore aborted his attempt.

Hamilton topped the standings of the final free practice, Verstappen had the 2nd quickest lap time, while Bottas was 3rd.

The results of the Abu Dhabi GP FP3:

Pos.DriverTeamTime/Gap
1Lewis HamiltonMercedes1:23.274
2Max VerstappenRed Bull Racing+0.214
3Valtteri BottasMercedes+0.751
4Sergio PerezRed Bull Racing+0.773
5Lando NorrisMcLaren+0.832
6Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauri+0.949
7Pierre GaslyAlphaTauri+0.977
8Carlos SainzFerrari+1.321
9Daniel RicciardoMcLaren+1.459
10Charles LeclercFerrari+1.484
11Lance StrollAston Martin+1.547
12Esteban OconAlpine+1.560
13Kimi RaikkonenAlfa Romeo Racing+1.763
14Antonio GiovinazziAlfa Romeo Racing+1.774
15Fernando AlonsoAlpine+1.820
16Sebastian VettelAston Martin+1.841
17George RussellWilliams+1.946
18Nicholas LatifiWilliams+2.048
19Mick SchumacherHaas+2.066
20Nikita MazepinHaas+3.058

Hi everyone! My name is Anton, I am 19 years old and I am an aspiring motorsports journalist. I love motorsports for those emotions and excitement it brings.