Bottas keeps Mercedes on top in final Chinese GP practice


Thai-British Formula 1 driver Alexander Albon walked away from a stunning crash on Saturday in the final practice session ahead of the Chinese Grand Prix. "Big congratulations to Valtteri, he's been stellar all weekend and I've been struggling and fighting the auto", said the Briton.

"The auto has been really good this weekend, and Lewis also improved a lot in qualifying, it was super close", said the Finn Bottas.

Sebastian Vettel was third-fastest for Mercedes' arch-rivals Ferrari for the race in Shanghai, the 1 000th grand prix in Formula One.

Max Verstappen was seventh for Red Bull, with the team appearing to have lost some speed after a promising showing in Friday's practice sessions.

"[Ferrari] are quick in the straights and there are some really long straights here so for sure they are going to be a big threat and I'm sure they are going to have good race pace as well. The Ferraris squeezed it all out and were very fast again on the straights, but we were quicker in the corners and that was ultimately how we stayed ahead today", said Wolff.

"I was trying to follow the Ferrari in front of me and trying to overtake him, this time it caught me out and I'm not happy about that", he said.

He was later given the all-clear but will miss qualifying because his ruined vehicle will not be fixed in time, Toro Rosso said.

"Everyone in front of me is starting with the same byres so we'll see what happens in the race".

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Asked if Mercedes would try to use that strength to run and hide, Silver Arrows chief Toto Wolff said: "That's exactly what we want to do!"

Haag's Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean completed the top 10 qualifiers.

Antonio Giovinazzi faced a suspected power unit issue in his Alfa Romeo after just an in lap and an out lap, while Thai driver Alex Albon paid the price of his crash in final practice as Toro Rosso was unable to rebuild his vehicle in time for the start of qualifying.

Lance Stroll failed to get out of Q1 for the third time in three races, finishing 0.144s off a place in Q2.

As a result he will start from the pit lane.

"We made it to the top of the timesheets but it is always very hard to find a good balance through an entire lap on this track", said Bottas.

"I am OK. More angry and disappointed than anything else". "As a result of the accident, we are changing the PU and sending the one that was in the auto at the time of the crash back to Sakura for a full check. It was a big one and silly one", said Albon.