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Bottas faster, problems with Verstappen

Bottas faster, problems with Verstappen

( – Valtteri Bottas set the fastest time in his third free practice session for the Qatar Grand Prix in Doha. The Mercedes driver cut the Losail International Circuit with a time of 1: 22.310 minutes, and fell to his teammate Lewis Hamilton by 0.078 seconds, and Max Verstappen (Red Bull) by 0.341 seconds.

Valtteri Bottas set the fastest time in his third freestyle session in Qatar


Friday’s surprise man, Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri) was fourth with a difference of 0.525sec. Despite the twist, this has happened to many pilots on the technically demanding route. Sergio Perez (Red Bull/+0.536) was fifth, Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin/+1.574) twelfth, and Mick Schumacher (Haas/+2.370) nineteenth.

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Striking: Although Red Bull announced a possible protest against Mercedes’ rear wing, it was Verstappen’s upper blade that flapped a lot in the third practice session. According to Red Bull Box, the reason for this was a problem with the DRS’s activation mechanism, which apparently could not withstand the forces generated by the air pressure.

Verstappen stood in the pits for a long time and was only able to get out on the track again at the end of the session to simulate a fast qualifying lap. Although he greatly shortened his disability, he improved from fourth to third place. But the bottom line was that Bottas was 0.341 seconds short of his best time.

At first, the session had to be interrupted with red flags. Nikita Maspin rolled at the exit of the pit. “The engine only ran four cylinders. It didn’t last long,” said Haas team boss Gunther Steiner in an interview with ServusTV. “Right now we’re making the switch and see if we can turn it on.”

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Masepin first had to watch when a mechanic changed the ignition coils and control units. “There has to be something in the electronics” – who, by the way, is not too optimistic about qualifying and racing, explains Steiner: “We know what this car is. We don’t dream of being competitive this weekend.”

By the way, Masepin could no longer go out on the track after the glitch. Lance Stroll (15./+1.844) was also dissatisfied, but for completely different reasons: “Man, the car…”, grumbled at the hole radio. Only to be crushed by his race engineer: “Get down, man!”

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