Verstappen fastest in final practice of the F1 season

Verstappen fastest in final practice of the F1 season


Red Bull's Max Verstappen was fastest in the final practice session of the Formula One season on Saturday, denying champions Mercedes a clean sweep in Abu Dhabi.

The 22-year-old Dutch driver, winner two weeks ago in Brazil, lapped the 5.5km Yas Marina circuit in one minute 36.566 seconds.

Six times world champion Lewis Hamilton was second for Mercedes, 0.074 slower and swapping places with team mate Valtteri Bottas, who will start Sunday's race from the back of the grid.

The Finn, whose car was fitted with another fresh engine on Saturday after the previous one sprung a pneumatic leak, had set the pace on Friday but ended the final session third but only 0.015 slower than Hamilton.

The top three were separated by just 0.089 seconds, with qualifying to follow.

Alexander Albon was fourth for Red Bull ahead of Ferrari pair Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc.

Sergio Perez was seventh fastest for Racing Point, ahead of Renault's Daniel Ricciardo and McLaren's Carlos Sainz.

Toro Rosso's Pierre Gasly rounded out the top 10.

Despite the close-run final session, the competitive order could change with qualifying starting at dusk and running into the night.

Mercedes have won every race in Abu Dhabi since 2014.

Hamilton, who secured his sixth title two races ago in Austin, has won at Yas Marina a record four times and is looking for an 11th win of the season on Sunday.

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