Hamilton on top as practice ends

2017 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix third practice

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Lewis Hamilton ended final practice for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix with the largest gap Mercedes has had over its pursuers so far this weekend. The world champion further lowered the track record he broke yesterday.

While team mate Valtteri Bottas goth within three-tenths of a second of Hamilton’s best time, the quickest-non-Mercedes was over half a second of his pace.

Kimi Raikkonen narrowly out-paced team mate Sebastian Vettel in the final one hour session. On a hotter track with temperatures exceeding 40C, the Ferraris were further behind than they had been in the second session.

Daniel Ricciardo was fifth-quickest for Red Bull. Team mate Max Verstappen, unhappy with his car’s balance, aborted one of his late runs.

The McLaren pair put in a good showing despite Stoffel Vandoorne replicating his turn 20 spin from Friday. Fernando Alonso was the quicker of the pair, one-and-a-half seconds off the pace.

Carlos Sainz Jnr and Sergio Perez completed the top ten, but the times were especially tight in the middle of the pack. Less than two-tenths of a second covered Alonso in seventh to Esteban Ocon in 13th.

Pos.No.DriverCarBest lapGapLaps
144Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’37.62719
277Valtteri BottasMercedes1’37.9000.27321
37Kimi RaikkonenFerrari1’38.1570.53022
45Sebastian VettelFerrari1’38.1740.54722
53Daniel RicciardoRed Bull-TAG Heuer1’38.3400.71316
633Max VerstappenRed Bull-TAG Heuer1’38.5870.96014
714Fernando AlonsoMcLaren-Honda1’39.1551.52815
82Stoffel VandoorneMcLaren-Honda1’39.2771.65018
955Carlos Sainz JnrRenault1’39.3401.71315
1011Sergio PerezForce India-Mercedes1’39.3671.74019
1119Felipe MassaWilliams-Mercedes1’39.3831.75616
1227Nico HulkenbergRenault1’39.3961.76918
1331Esteban OconForce India-Mercedes1’39.5001.87318
1420Kevin MagnussenHaas-Ferrari1’39.8312.20419
158Romain GrosjeanHaas-Ferrari1’40.0792.45219
1694Pascal WehrleinSauber-Ferrari1’40.3072.68020
1718Lance StrollWilliams-Mercedes1’40.5722.94516
1810Pierre GaslyToro Rosso-Renault1’40.7373.11021
199Marcus EricssonSauber-Ferrari1’40.7893.16221
2028Brendon HartleyToro Rosso-Renault1’40.8833.25623

Third practice visual gaps

Lewis Hamilton – 1’37.627

+0.273 Valtteri Bottas – 1’37.900

+0.530 Kimi Raikkonen – 1’38.157

+0.547 Sebastian Vettel – 1’38.174

+0.713 Daniel Ricciardo – 1’38.340

+0.960 Max Verstappen – 1’38.587

+1.528 Fernando Alonso – 1’39.155

+1.650 Stoffel Vandoorne – 1’39.277

+1.713 Carlos Sainz Jnr – 1’39.340

+1.740 Sergio Perez – 1’39.367

+1.756 Felipe Massa – 1’39.383

+1.769 Nico Hulkenberg – 1’39.396

+1.873 Esteban Ocon – 1’39.500

+2.204 Kevin Magnussen – 1’39.831

+2.452 Romain Grosjean – 1’40.079

+2.680 Pascal Wehrlein – 1’40.307

+2.945 Lance Stroll – 1’40.572

+3.110 Pierre Gasly – 1’40.737

+3.162 Marcus Ericsson – 1’40.789

+3.256 Brendon Hartley – 1’40.883

Drivers more then ten seconds off the pace omitted.

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Keith Collantine
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7 comments on “Hamilton on top as practice ends”

  1. Good move for Ferrari for insisting that 3 engines are plenty for 21 race season. I will laugh so hard when they go full power to try to match Merc and blow up to zillion pieces.

  2. 7-13 position was under 4 tenth. Expecting a tight Q2.

  3. McLaren must be kicking themselves now with these FP results, much quicker than earlier in the year. Only 2 Renaults faster and they have probably the best chassis overall. Yes, it’s only FP but it’s a performance indicator. If it wasn’t important, why do it? Is it my imagination or has Honda improved significantly since the divorce papers were served?

    1. They’ll be comparing themselves to RBR, and thinking what could have been with a better PU.

    2. @baron i don’t think McLaren has any regrets. Yes Honda has improved as it should but they also stop focusing on developing the engine to focus on some not so bad results for the end of the year which seems to be the right decision.

      Regarding the gap, as said above they are comparing themselves with RedBull and they are believed to have a chassis with similar performance… Still 8 tenths coming from the pu. To much a gap to compensate with chassis. In addition Renault might be running slightly conservative due to their lack of spares.

    3. Honda peak power isn’t really an issue since summer break. Their main problem is reliability which somewhat improved but that only to being able to complete the race, and recharging the batteries during the race. Both of these issues is not represented by fastest lap alone.

    4. @baron, whilst they have improved over the course of the year, it is still the case that, as an overall package, the Honda power unit is still falling behind in some key areas.

      There is an individual over at the F1Technical forums who claims to be linked with Honda’s engine development team, and whilst he has been more positive about Honda’s development, even he concedes that the Honda engine has flaws. In particular, one area he has confirmed Honda is still lagging in is in terms of fuel consumption, having conceded they have the highest fuel consumption in race trim (he claimed that McLaren were having to put in about 104kg on average per race, with Renault powered teams being closer to 100kg).

      That isn’t so much of an issue over an individual lap, since Honda seems to have developed ways of mitigating those issues in qualifying trim, but in race trim that penalty does become more significant – so whilst McLaren have tended to do better in qualifying in recent races, they are not quite as competitive as Renault in race trim due to that fuel weight penalty (which is why Hasegawa is still talking about trying to catch up with Renault).

      Now, Honda have apparently been trying to improve their energy recovery systems and to prevent a repeat of the vibration issues that hit the team in the earlier part of the year with their 2018 unit, but equally we know that Renault have been working on improving their energy recovery systems and on developing a more powerful engine mode for qualifying.

      With that in mind, whilst Honda might make some improvements, given that Renault will also be improving – and has the advantage of having already gained track time with prototype 2018 components – and the suggestion that some of the improvements that Honda had made in terms of their energy recovery systems were due to developments by McLaren (which Honda might lose the right to use once they leave the team) – Honda may still have a weaker package overall than Renault.

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