China FP3: Bottas still on top as Albon has big crash


Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas topped the timing screens at the end of the third and final practice session of the Chinese Grand Prix weekend, on a morning in Shanghai which was marred by a massive shunt involving Alex Albon.

Late in the one-hour morning session, the Toro Rosso driver made a mistake when he clipped to astroturf and lost control of the car which slammed the barrier.

The young Thai driver was able to walk away unharmed and had to visit the medical centre for a check-up, but it will be a race against time to get his car ready for qualifying. He was ninth quickest when the session ended.

At the sharp Valtteri Bottas continued to set the pace as he did in FP2 a day earlier, appearing more comfortable in the car than Lewis Hamilton who was only good for the fourth fastest time, albeit 0.859 of a second shy of the best time.

The Finn’s time of 1:32.830 was set during the final ten minutes of the session.

Sandwiched between the Mercedes duo on the timing screen were the Ferrari pair of Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc, the German nearly four tenths down on Bottas and a hundredth faster than his teammate in the #16 car.

In fifth, Nico Hulkenberg was Best of the Rest in the Renault while his teammate Daniel Ricciardo struggled to find the sweet spot, ending over a second shy of his teammate.

Kimi Raikkonen was sixth in the Alfa Romeo, ahead of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen in seventh, who was also well ahead of his teammate Pierre Gasly who ended down in 15th.

Carlos Sainz was eighth in the McLaren, ahead of Albon and Daniil Kvyat who rounded out the top ten.

Report in  progress…

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