In the last hour of practise in Abu Dhabi, Lewis Hamilton edged out Max Verstappen to achieve the quickest time, ahead of the crucial qualifying session.

The majority of drivers started on hard-compound tyres in FP3, which was held in brighter, hotter conditions than qualifying and the Grand Prix that followed.

However, the Red Bulls started out on mediums and the Mercedes drivers opted to start the session on softs before qualifying runs came thick and fast at the end of FP3.

Hamilton posted the quickest time of the weekend of 1m 23.274s midway through the session, 0.751s faster than teammate Valtteri Bottas (P3), with the medium-shod Red Bulls trailing by more than 1.5s in the early stages.

Sergio Perez, Verstappen’s teammate, finished fourth, 0.02s behind Bottas, with his final attempt, leaving Lando Norris of McLaren in P5.

Verstappen performed a series of long runs on medium tyres, while the engineers fiddled with his rear wing.

The Dutchman switched to soft tyres for the final 15 minutes and was able to get within hailing distance of Hamilton by posting a time of 1:23.488.

Another source of concern for Hamilton was that he hampered Nikita Mazepin when leaving the pits for the second race weekend in a row. Hamilton stated on the radio that he tried to stay out of the path, but the replays did not appear to be favourable. Any stewards penalty could result in a grid-position drop for the race.

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