Valtteri Bottas was the fastest driver during the FP3 at the Losail Circuit for the Qatar GP, with the lap time of 1:22.310s. He was followed by Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen respectively, with their times of 1:22.388s and 1:22.651s. The rest that completed the top 10 of the session were: Gasly, Perez, Sainz, Alonso, Ocon, Leclerc and Tsunoda.
Qatar and the Losail Circuit, which are not new venues for anybody who watches MotoGP, are a completely new territory for F1, as they have never raced here before. The free practice sessions are then crucial for the teams to gain an understanding of what to expect and prepare for for the qualifying session as well as the race, trying to get data that can turn into the perfect formula especially for Sunday. Before the start of the FP3, the conditions were dry, with 27C of air temperature and 38C of track temperature. One of the quite unique issues present at the track is the amount of dust there, which can be problematic later on for the teams.
With the green light, Mick Schumacher was the first driver to get out on the track followed by his teammate Mazepin, who was informed by the team almost immediately informed Mazepin to stop the car. The session has been red flagged after just a few minutes of run, but after the Russian has been pushed back into his garage, the session was restarted. After the restart, it was again Schumacher who got out as the first one, followed by Ocon. The first 10 minutes of the session were fairly boring, as 18 out of the 20 drivers stayed in their garages. Only 15 - 20 minutes into the session more drivers started to get out on the tract test the grounds.
The first lap time that could be taken as a point of reference was the time of Lewis Hamilton, with the lap of 1:23.950s, the fastest in the session at that point.
Half an hour into the session, the top 10 were: Verstappen, with the time of 1:23.121s; Hamilton, Sainz, Bottas, Perez, Alonso, Gasly, Ocon, Tsunoda and Leclerc. Soon enough it was Hamilton on P1, with the time of 1:22.655s, who was then pushed down by his teammate Bottas with the team of 1:22.573s.
During the course of the session we’ve seen some times being deleted for extending the track limits, for example Gasly going wide in turn 16. The track limits have been a big debate since the Brazilian GP between everybody - drivers, FIA, teams, fans and journalists.
15 minutes before the end of the session, the top 10 were: Bottas, with the time of 1:22.573s, followed by Hamilton, Verstappen, Sainz, Leclerc, Gasly, Alonso, Tsunoda, Perez and Ocon.
There was a yellow flag momentarily, caused by Charles Leclerc who kicked up a lot of dust after loosing it in turn 2. The driver was able to get back onto the track without issues and continue his stint. A few minutes before the end of the session, Hamilton received a new front wing from his team to test out. Stroll has been quite frustrated with the performance of his car, so hopefully the team is able to find better setting for quali. Schumacher caused another yellow flag for a moment, but he was able to immediately get back in, after a spin caused by some oversteer.
The rest of the session was pretty much uneventful, with a few drivers going wide in some corners, but no major issues or crashes. The final classification of the FP3:
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">🏁 END OF FP3 🏁<br><br>Mercedes look strong heading into qualifying<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/QatarGP?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#QatarGP</a> 🇶🇦 <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/F1?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#F1</a> <a href="https://t.co/p6KJBcqwyV">pic.twitter.com/p6KJBcqwyV</a></p>— Formula 1 (@F1) <a href="https://twitter.com/F1/status/1462028781657411588?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">November 20, 2021</a></blockquote> <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>