Bottas leads comfortable Mercedes double in third practice in Qatar


After missing Friday’s second practice session to change his chassis, Nikita Mazepin was the first to head to the track.

But as soon as he reached the exit of the pitlane, his engineer told him to stop the car, to which he said shortly afterwards, “The engine sound was not normal.”

The race management decided to raise the red flag so that the Haas crew could push the car back into the garage and soon the session resumed.

The Vanguard drivers tried to delay their entry to the circuit until the temperatures dropped even more. “There’s a slight poor cornering response,” said Perez, a bit off the track on the penultimate turn.

Meanwhile, Pierre Gasly suddenly lost control while walking slowly on the track and his car made a full turn. “What happened there, you suddenly lost control of the car,” he said in surprise.

Again, Red Bull continues to have problems with its rear wing and high-speed flapping, which appears to be costing the team some performance.

Mercedes continued their drive on Soft tyres, where they started to show a strong speed, but Bottas took the advantage again, taking advantage of his amazing speed in the first segment to record 1:22.310.

The Finn had a 0.078sec lead over teammate Hamilton, with both of them leading relatively well over Red Bull.

Max Verstappen was third 0.341secs off the lead and his lap had some sporadic errors, while Red Bull said they were optimistic that the flutter problem would be resolved by qualifying later.

Gasly continued his impressive performance to finish fourth, 0.011 seconds ahead of Red Bull’s second driver Perez, who appears to be of no help to his teammate this weekend against Mercedes.

And sixth place went to Ferrari’s Spaniard Carlos Sainz Jr., who beat Albin Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon.

On the other hand, his colleague Charles Leclerc lost his final attempt after his car spun and his tires deteriorated, while Yuki Tsunoda completed the top ten.

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