Third Free Practice Results & Report 2023 Abu Dhabi F1 Grand Prix
Weather: dry 28.8°C
Tarmac: dry 41.4°C
Humidity : 57%
Wind : 8.6 km/h S
Pressure: 1013 mbar
Yas Marina Circuit – FP3 Highlights
As the sun scorched down on the Yas Marina Circuit, teams and drivers geared up for the final practice session (FP3) before the much-anticipated qualifying round for the 2023 Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix. After a disrupted FP2 session, teams were eager to make the most of the available track time.
Disrupted FP2 Paves Way for an Unpredictable FP3
Friday’s FP2, marred by red flags due to incidents involving Carlos Sainz and Nico Hulkenberg, left teams scrambling for data, particularly on race simulations. Sainz's high-speed spin and subsequent barrier damage led to a significant delay, impacting everyone's program. As a result, strategies for the Grand Prix were up in the air, with teams missing out on crucial long runs and qualifying simulations.
Teams Battling for Championship Positions
The stakes are high in the constructors' championship, with Ferrari and Mercedes closely contesting for the second spot. Only four points separate the two giants, adding extra pressure to perform. Similarly, Aston Martin is hot on the heels of McLaren for fourth place, while Williams aims to fend off a resurgent AlphaTauri for seventh.
Tyre Strategies in Focus
Pirelli’s decision to provide the softest compounds (C3, C4, and C5) added an extra layer of complexity, especially after the limited running in FP2. Teams had fewer laps than anticipated to gauge the performance of these compounds under varying conditions.
FP3 Action Unfolds
Lewis Hamilton, eager to make up for lost time, was among the first on the track, opting for soft tyres. Meanwhile, Aston Martin, consistent in their approach, began with hard compounds, possibly aiming to enhance race-day performance by scrubbing the tyres.
Top Performers and Surprises
- Carlos Sainz initially set the pace, a significant rebound after his FP2 mishap.
- Sergio Perez on softs soared to the top with a commendable 1m 25.417s, hinting at Red Bull's potential in cooler conditions.
- Lando Norris showed McLaren's strength, slotting into a strong position early on.
- George Russell emerged as the star of FP3, clocking a brilliant 1m 25.163s, outshining his teammate Hamilton.
Uncertainty Looms Ahead of Qualifying
As the session progressed, various strategies unfolded. Ferrari seemed content on mediums, focusing on longer runs, while others like Williams and Alpine switched to softs for qualifying simulations. The final minutes saw a flurry of activity, with several drivers improving their times but unable to dethrone Russell from the top spot.
Notable Struggles and Concerns
- Max Verstappen expressed dissatisfaction with the RB19's setup, indicating potential challenges for Red Bull.
- Charles Leclerc and Ferrari, while quick, couldn't quite match Russell's pace, leaving them pondering their approach for qualifying.
- AlphaTauri's absence in the early part of the session raised questions about their strategy and upgrades.
Looking Ahead: Qualifying and the Grand Prix
With Russell leading FP3 and the order behind him a mix of strategies and fuel loads, qualifying promises to be an enthralling affair. Teams face the challenge of adapting to changing conditions, with the specter of yesterday's red flags and limited data playing into their strategies.
The Final Showdown
As the season heads towards its climax, the qualifying session at Yas Marina holds the promise of suspense and drama. Will it be a head-to-head between the usual suspects, or will an unexpected contender rise to the occasion? With less than a second separating the top 15, the stage is set for a thrilling conclusion to the season's final qualifying session.
The quickest lap time during last years FP3 was a 1:24,982 min driven by Sergio Pérez with the Red Bull RB18.
FP3 Times Table 2023 Abu Dhabi F1 GP
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