Qatar Grand Prix FP3 Report: Red Bull Face F1 Rear Wing Hitch as Bottas Steals the Show in Losail

Published 11/20/2021, 7:03 AM EST
Formula One F1 – Qatar Grand Prix – Losail International Circuit, Lusail, Qatar – November 20, 2021 Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas during practice REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed


It is now an important day in Qatar as teams get ready for the final practice session ahead of qualifying. Although track conditions didn’t reflect either qualifying or race conditions, the strategy would revolve largely around the data from this session. Thus, Mercedes would be the happiest on the grid as Bottas set the benchmark in this session of the Qatar Grand Prix.

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The drivers had a lot of fun in the circuit at Losail and they continued to do so in FP3. However, Valtteri Bottas had the most fun, once again topping the timesheets, now in the warmer conditions. Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen followed; Pierre Gasly and Sergio Perez rounded up the top 5.

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Problems around the paddock in Losail

Haas faced problems in the opening minutes of the session, as Mazepin brought out the first red flag of the weekend. Having a new chassis after missing out on FP2, the Haas didn’t start right; moments after leaving the garage, the Russian had to be pushed back to the garage. Later, a power controller problem dominoes into a PU change as Mazepin sat this session out as well.

Speaking of garages, Red Bull continued with the hushed activity in theirs. Early in the session, the human wall was back, as engineers fiddled with the rear wings. It’s unlike Red Bull to leave the problems on for so long, but as seen today, the pace was there. Will it come back to bite the team later in the evening? Hopefully not.

Damage to floorboards continues as the curbs continue to launch debris out of the machines. But for Gasly, it was a strange spin that had him confused. With cold boots on the AlphaTauri, the first pin of the session was a complete 360.

Red Bull spend FP3 in the garage as Mercedes dominate the circuit

Lewis Hamilton was off the pace on Friday, but the champion found the rhythm in his W12 today. Cruising around Losail, Hamilt0n looked more comfortable in FP3. As a result, the Silver Arrows sat tall on the top of the timesheets as Red Bull struggled in the session.

Formula One F1 – Qatar Grand Prix – Losail International Circuit, Lusail, Qatar – November 20, 2021 Red Bull’s Max Verstappen during practice REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

Although Verstappen joined the party late, he arrived in style. In his first lap around the circuit, he displaced his rival by 0.031s. This championship is as close as it gets! However, as the session progressed, the advantage seemed to favor Mercedes. Sergio Perez inched closer to the action; having finished P5.

Red bull’s rear wing has been a problem for them so far, which could be a major disadvantage for them in qualifying. The vibrations on the curbs could be the cause of their problem, but somehow, it seems more serious than that.

AlphaTauri continues to raise eyebrows in Qatar Grand Prix weekend

The Alpine drivers frequented the top of the timesheets, settling for an impressive P7 and 8. However, the eyes were on AlphaTauri. Once again, the pace continued to impress as Ferrari and McLaren stayed away from the action. Ferrari sat comfortably ahead of their rivals. With Sainz in P6 and Leclerc in P9, the upgrades continue to surprise.

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Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo finished 13 and 11, respectively. Not too exciting for the Papaya team. Will the tables turn in Qualifying?

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Now, a more important timesheet awaits filling as an important qualifying session awaits the drivers. As overtaking will be difficult on Sunday, grid positions are going to be crucial for a good race. How will they all line up on Sunday? Only moments before we find out.

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Shreya Sanjeev

642 articles

Shreya Sanjeev is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. Having attained a journalism degree from St Xavier's College, she finds comfort in the sound of her keyboard while typing and excitement in the sound of F1 cars speeding on a track. A street circuit and Daniel Ricciardo fan through and through, Shreya claims the 2018 Monaco GP to be one of her favorite races of all time.

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