Abu Dhabi GP: Verstappen pips the two Mercedes' to lead final practice

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Max Verstappen broke Mercedes' stranglehold at the top of the timesheets to lead final practice at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Despite the daytime conditions again being unrepresentative of what drivers will face as darkness falls during qualifying, they still took the opportunity to complete plenty of laps in the final practice session of the season.

For much of the hour of running, Lewis Hamilton held a solid advantage over his teammate Valtteri Bottas in P1, but a mistake at the Turn 5 and 6 chicane allowed the others to close in.

And with his final effort, the Dutchman posted a 1m36.566s to lead the six-time world champion and his Mercedes teammate by less than a tenth of a second.

Alex Albon followed in fourth in the other Red Bull, while Ferrari took a different approach in using the medium compound tyre for their final flying laps.

And their pace on the slower tyre was good with Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc only four-tenths back in fifth and sixth respectively, putting them very much in the battle for pole position.

Behind the top three teams, Sergio Perez led the midfield in charge in seventh for Racing Point, this despite giving Kimi Raikkonen a face full of oil on his way out of the pits.

Daniel Ricciardo also put Renault into the mix in seventh, with Carlos Sainz and Pierre Gasly, who start the weekend tied on 95 points in the Drivers’ standings, completing the top 10.

Much like the front of the grid, the gaps between the six midfield teams are very small indeed, with just over a second covering the 11 cars from P7-P17.

Unfortunately at the bottom of that list was Nico Hulkenberg, who will certainly want to finish higher than 17th in potentially, his final race in F1.

With every tenth counting then, a perfect lap around the Yas Marina Circuit could make all the difference in qualifying, although not for Bottas who will start last regardless following an engine change for this weekend.

Full results can be seen below:

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