Hamilton leads Raikkonen as Ricciardo stops in FP3

Image by Glenn Dunbar/LAT

Hamilton leads Raikkonen as Ricciardo stops in FP3

Formula 1

Hamilton leads Raikkonen as Ricciardo stops in FP3

Lewis Hamilton hit the front in the final practice session for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix as Daniel Ricciardo hit more reliability issues for Red Bull.

At the end of a season in which he has had the most retirements of any driver, Ricciardo was forced to stop late in the session and climbed out of his car after parking it on the exit of Turn 9. It remains to be seen if the issue will have an impact on Ricciardo’s qualifying session, after he finishing in sixth place in FP3.

Hamilton led the way with a 1m37.176s, leaving him nearly 0.3s clear of Kimi Raikkonen. Although Raikkonen’s fastest lap was a strong one, he will need to visit the stewards after he made a mistake at the penultimate corner, went to pit and then opted to rejoin the track by cutting across the pit entry.

Sebastian Vettel was just over 0.1s away from his teammate as Ferrari ended up second and third, with Max Verstappen posting a 1m37.747s in fourth place ahead of Valtteri Bottas and Ricciardo.

The top 10 was completed by Romain Grosjean, Nico Hulkenberg, Carlos Sainz and Esteban Ocon, but it was not a trouble-free session for three of those four.

Grosjean had the most obvious incident late on, getting caught on the racing line approaching Turn 17 and blocking the fast-approaching Pierre Gasly. Gasly pulled alongside having had to back off and raised a hand in frustration, but that meant the Toro Rosso did not turn in immediately for the right-hander and as Grosjean went to turn in there was slight contact.

The incident is being investigated by the stewards, but Grosjean entered the Toro Rosso garage to apologize after the session ended, with a handshake and explanation from both sides taking place in what appeared to be an amicable discussion.

Hulkenberg missed out on some running at the start of the session as Renault wanted to check his rear suspension, while Ocon only completed seven laps late in the session after technical issues confined him to the garage.

In an eventful session, Charles Leclerc lost control of his Sauber in the final sector, losing the rear at Turn 19 and spinning backward into the barrier. The contact was significant and wiped the rear wing off the car, although Leclerc was able to limp back to the pits and rejoin later in the session.

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