Bottas fastest, but Verstappen a pole threat

Top three split by less than a tenth of a second in final practice; Watch qualifying at 2pm on Sky Sports F1

Last Updated: 12/09/20 12:26pm

Max Verstappen could be a genuine qualifying threat for Mercedes at the Tuscan GP after finishing just behind Valtteri Bottas in final practice, who sealed a hat-trick of fastest times to kick-off Mugello’s F1 bow.

Verstappen split the Mercedes and was just 0.017s slower than the in-form Bottas to hint at an intriguing shootout to set the grid – with qualifying starting at 2pm today on Sky Sports F1.

Lewis Hamilton was third, 0.083s off the pace of Bottas, who has had the edge over his Mercedes team-mate on a perfect start to his weekend.

Although Mercedes – undefeated, and largely unchallenged, on Saturdays in 2020 – now have a fast Red Bull to look out for.

“There’s one tenth between the top three, this is properly exciting!” said Sky F1’s Jenson Button. “It’s fantastic.”

Charles Leclerc apologises for getting in Kimi Raikkonen’s way and says he didn’t know he was on his P3 lap.
Charles Leclerc apologises for getting in Kimi Raikkonen’s way and says he didn’t know he was on his P3 lap.

Alex Albon was only eighth in the other Red Bull, a second off the pace, as Racing Point’s Lance Stroll emerged as the closest challenger to F1’s now-usual top three.

Stroll was 0.5s down on Bottas in fourth, just ahead of man of the moment Pierre Gasly in the AlphaTauri, with Sergio Perez, who has a one-place grid penalty for the race, also in the top six.

Charles Leclerc was an encouraging seventh for Ferrari, although team-mate Sebastian Vettel had a miserable hour – down in 18th for the team celebrating their 1000th race this weekend.

McLaren will also be disappointed, with both Carlos Sainz (12th) and Lando Norris (19th) on the back foot, while Daniil Kvyat and Romain Grosjean were surprise inclusions in the top-10.

George Russell missed out on the qualifying simulations completely due to a brake-by-wire failure on his Williams.

Tuscan GP Practice Three Timesheet

Driver Team Time
1) Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:16.530
2) Max Verstappen Red Bull +0.017
3) Lewis Hamilton Mercedes +0.083
4) Lance Stroll Racing Point +0.582
5) Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri +0.696
6) Sergio Perez Racing Point +0.811
7) Charles Leclerc Ferrari +0958
8) Alexander Albon Red Bull +1.008
9) Daniil Kvyat AlphaTauri +1.097
10) Romain Grosjean Haas +1.105
11) Esteban Ocon Renault +1.216
12) Carlos Sainz McLaren +1.238
13) Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo +1.282
14) Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo +1.313
15) Kevin Magnussen Haas +1.509
16) Nicholas Latifi Williams +1.542
17) Daniel Ricciardo Renault +1.612
18) Sebastian Vettel Ferrari +1.656
19) Lando Norris McLaren +2.296
20) George Russell Williams No time set

Source : Sky Sports