Bottas fastest in final Italian GP practice

Valtteri Bottas kept Mercedes on top of the timesheets in final practice for the Italian Grand Prix on Saturday, with Renault-powered rivals suddenly showing a turn of speed ahead of qualifying.

McLaren’s Spaniard Carlos Sainz and British youngster Lando Norris were second and third respectively with Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo fourth.

The Australian brought out red flags when he pulled over and parked up by the side of the track with a suspected fuel pump failure.

The team expected the car to be ready for qualifying, the first since governing body FIA ordered a change to cars’ engine modes.

Bottas’s lap of one minute 20.089 seconds was the quickest of the weekend so far with the Finn, now 50 points adrift of team mate Lewis Hamilton after seven races, 0.229 quicker than Sainz.

The session ended alarmingly, and messily, with championship leader Hamilton swerving dramatically at speed onto the grass to avoid cars that had slowed at Parabolica.

The Briton had warned on Friday that qualifying could see a repeat of last year’s farcical scenes where drivers jostled for position to try and gain an advantage by slipstreaming others at the fastest track on the calendar.

Hamilton, chasing a 90th career victory this weekend with Michael Schumacher’s record 91 within touching distance, ended the session fifth fastest after setting the pace on Friday with his closest championship rival Max Verstappen sixth for Red Bull.

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, last year’s winner from pole at the team’s home track, was only 11th fastest while team mate Sebastian Vettel was 15th as the sport’s most glamorous team continued to struggle.

Mercedes have started every race from pole so far and won six of them.

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Arushi Sana is the Co Founder of NYK Daily. She was a Forensic Data Analyst previously employed with EY (Ernst & Young). She aims to develop a global community of knowledge and journalism par excellence through this News Platform. Arushi holds a degree in Computer Science Engineering. She is also a Mentor for women suffering from Mental Health, and helps them in becoming published authors. Helping and educating people always came naturally to Arushi. She is a writer, political researcher, a social worker and a singer with a flair for languages. Travel and nature are the biggest spiritual getaways for her. She believes Yoga and communication can make the world a better place, and is optimistic of a bright yet mysterious future!

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