FP3: Bottas claims practice hat-trick at Mugello

Valtteri Bottas made it a clean sweep of the practice timesheets at Mugello, setting the pace in FP3 ahead of, you guessed it, Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton.

Formula 1 could not have asked for a more perfect day in the beautiful setting of the Tuscan hills with the air temperature at 27’C and the track at 40’C for the start of Saturday’s final practice.

Bottas, Friday’s pace-setter, was immediately out on the soft tyres and laid down a 1:17.4 as he embraced the track limits, or best to say lack thereof.

Using ๐€๐‹๐‹ the kerb ๐Ÿ”ฅ

Valtteri Bottas goes to the top yet again in Mugello practice#TuscanGP ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น #F1 pic.twitter.com/hC4FJwXN1U

— Formula 1 (@F1) September 12, 2020

It was a quiet start to the session with Bottas the only driver clocking a lap time in the first 20 minutes… and then of course there was a rush to get out.

Ferrari were amongst those joining the action with Charles Leclerc sliding into second but that became third when Lewis Hamilton went quickest with a 1:17.4, 0.022s up on Bottas.

Sebastian Vettel wasn’t able to match his team-mate, some 1.4s down on Leclerc and almost 2.4s slower than Hamilton. Ferrari were running the medium tyres.

Romain Grosjean had a moment in the traffic, unhappy with the behaviour of one of the Alfa Romeos that he felt was in his way.

๐Ÿ‘‰ ๐™ถ๐™ด๐šƒ๐šƒ๐™ธ๐™ฝ๐™ถ ๐™ฒ๐™ป๐™พ๐š‚๐™ด ๐Ÿ‘ˆ#TuscanGP ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น #F1 pic.twitter.com/SCFf0iMGkQ

— Formula 1 (@F1) September 12, 2020

Bottas returned to P1 with a 1:17.2 with Max Verstappen, one of the last to post a lap time, jumping up to second, 0.059s down on the Mercedes driver. Hamilton dropped to third.

Only George Russell didn’t set a time in the first half of the session, the Williams driver completing an installation lap before returning to the pits with a reported brake problem.

“Completely to the floor,” was Russell’s assessment as he slowed down in the pits.

A brake issue for #GR63 is restricting his running, but #NL6 is pushing on with his programme.

15 mins left to go in FP3 โŒ›๏ธ #TuscanGP ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น | #WeAreWilliams ๐Ÿ’™ pic.twitter.com/EPdnZ9ru9n

— Williams Racing (@WilliamsRacing) September 12, 2020

Putting in a second hot lap on his medium tyres, Verstappen lowered the benchmark time to a 1:17.1.

He wasn’t up in P1 for long, though, as Bottas ventured back out on a fresh set of soft tyres, a 1:16.5 up him six-tenths ahead of the Red Bull driver.

Hamilton went second, 0.083s off the pace, as he once again wasn’t able to match his team-mate through the middle sector.

Lance Stroll moved up to third ahead of Verstappen while Italian GP winner Pierre Gasly brought out the yellows when he ran wide as he lost the rear end of his AlphaTauri while turning in. The Frenchman had popped up into ffith on his previous lap.

Verstappen put in a late lap on the soft tyres, even putting wheels onto the grass, to split the Mercedes in second place. He was 0.017s down on Bottas and 0.066s faster than Hamilton.

Stroll finished fourth ahead of Gasly, Sergio Perez, Leclerc and Alexander Albon. Vettel was down in 18th place.

Times
1Valtteri BottasMercedes1:16.53017 laps
2Max VerstappenRed Bull0.017s10 laps
3Lewis HamiltonMercedes0.083s14 laps
4Lance StrollRacing Point0.582s10 laps
5Pierre GaslyAlphaTauri0.696s14 laps
6Sergio PerezRacing Point0.811s14 laps
7Charles LeclercFerrari0.958s15 laps
8Alex AlbonRed Bull1.008s11 laps
9Daniil KvyatAlphaTauri1.097s17 laps
10Romain GrosjeanHaas1.105s19 laps
11Esteban OconRenault1.216s13 laps
12Carlos SainzMcLaren1.238s19 laps
13Antonio GiovinazziAlfa Romeo Racing1.282s15 laps
14Kimi RaikkonenAlfa Romeo Racing1.313s17 laps
15Kevin MagnussenHaas1.509s17 laps
16Nicholas LatifiWilliams1.542s15 laps
17Daniel RicciardoRenault1.612s12 laps
18Sebastian VettelFerrari1.656s15 laps
19Lando NorrisMcLaren2.296s19 laps
20George RussellWilliams 1 lap

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