ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) Five-time Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton posted the fastest time in the third and final practice session for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, ahead of qualifying later Saturday.
In hot conditions at the Yas Marina desert circuit, the Mercedes driver was about 0.3 seconds ahead of Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel and 0.4 ahead of Vettel’s teammate Kimi Raikkonen.
Red Bull driver Max Verstappen had the fourth fastest time but his teammate Daniel Ricciardo pulled over to the side of the track near the end because of a water pressure issue on the car. It is Ricciardo’s last race for Red Bull before joining Renault next year, and Raikkonen’s last ride for Ferrari before switching to Sauber.
Near the end of P3, there was a heated moment between Toro Rosso driver Pierre Gasly and Romain Grosjean of Haas when they narrowly avoided colliding. The Frenchmen made up afterward as Grosjean went over to speak to Gasly, who patted him on the back.
Qualifying begins at 5 p.m. local time (1300 GMT) when the sun sets and the temperature cools somewhat, mirroring the conditions for Sunday’s race under floodlights.
Hamilton is eyeing an 11th GP win of the season on Sunday, while teammate Valtteri Bottas is seeking his first. Four-time F1 champion Vettel is looking to soften the blow of finishing second to Hamilton in the title race for the second straight year.
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MONTEREY, Calif – Rinus VeeKay may have won the first race of the weekend’s Indy Lights doubleheader at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca Saturday afternoon, but all all eyes post-race were all on the driver who finished the race in the fourth position.
That driver was Oliver Askew, who by simply starting the 30-lap event at the famed road course won the 2019 series title, along with the 2020 NTT IndyCar Series scholarship that guarantees a minimum of three races next season.
“It’s all sinking in,” Askew told NBC Sports following the race. “I’m really happy to be part of this team. They’re back to back champions now in Indy Lights, and I feel very fortunate to be driving in this car this year.
“This is what we worked for all year. I’m very happy to be in this position and I can’t wait to celebrate with my team.”
With the championship in Askew’s possession from the get-go, the best VeeKay could do for in race 1 was to win in dominant fashion. He went on to do just so.
After starting the race from the pole position, VeeKay led every lap from start to finish en route to his fifth victory of the season.
“We managed the car well and kept the car consistent throughout the whole race,” VeeKay said. “I got a great car from the team so I want to give a big shout out to them for giving me a winning car.”
Behind VeeKay, Portland race 2 winner Toby Sowery finished the race in the second position, while Robert Megennis finished third.
Live streaming coverage of race two of the Indy Lights doubleheader at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca begins tomorrow afternoon at 12:10 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Gold.
Click here for full race results
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