Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – Lewis Hamilton topped the final free practice session of 2018 ahead of the two Ferraris whilst there were more reliability woes for Daniel Ricciardo.
Showing no signs of power unit difficulties, Hamilton set the pace ahead of qualifying for the final race of the season by setting a 1:37.176, with the two Ferraris improving from yesterday’s performance.
In the final qualifying simulations, Kimi Raikkonen was Hamilton’s closest competitor, finishing just less than three tenths off the pace of the Briton, with team-mate Sebastian Vettel in third, four tenths off the pace.
The spread of performance was such that the best times in sectors one, two and three were set by Vettel, Raikkonen and Hamilton respectively.
Part-way through the session, after running wide at the penultimate corner Raikkonen and Ferrari were caught in two minds about whether to pit or continue.
This resulted in Raikkonen heading for the pit lane before cutting back across the pit lines to rejoin the track, which is against the rules. He is currently under investigation, but this will likely only result in a reprimand.
Red Bull’s power unit disadvantage has become more apparent in FP3, with Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo in fourth and sixth, separated by Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas.
Ricciardo’s final race weekend for Red Bull Racing was hampered by an as-yet-unidentified problem in the closing stages of FP3. His car lost power on-track and he will be hoping that the issue is a quick fix ahead of qualifying.
Haas’ Romain Grosjean finished in seventh, but was involved in a bizarre incident in the closing moments of FP3.
On a cool-down lap, he was overtaken in the final sector by Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly, who was on a flying lap.
Seemingly unaware of the Toro Rosso, Grosjean turned into the corner and the pair came together, damaging the front wing of the Haas car.
The rest of the top ten was completed by the Renaults of Nico Hulkenberg and Carlos Sainz and Force India’s Esteban Ocon.
Charles Leclerc’s final practice session was ended early when the Monegasque driver lost control of his car and crashed at turn nineteen,
Negotiating his way through the twisty final sector, Leclerc unsettled the car at the left-handed turn eighteen before continuing to lose the car part-way through turn nineteen, hitting the barrier with the rear of his car.
With his Sauber now without a rear wing, he returned to the pit lane for repairs, and the session continued without a red flag.
To view the full results of the final practice session of the year, click here.