Abu Dhabi GP: Russell fastest as big names struggle in Practice 3

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George Russell set the pace as many rivals struggled in the final Practice session of the year at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

The Mercedes driver led almost the entire hour at Yas Marina, with the two McLarens completing the top three.

When the lights went green, teams wasted little time heading out after the disruption in FP2, with most going out on soft tyres.

The grip was at a premium in the higher daytime temperatures, while gusty winds made conditions even trickier for the drivers.

FP1 pacesetter George Russell went fastest early on, ahead of the two Red Bulls and Oscar Piastri in third.

Alex Albon was the first to move onto a second set of soft tyres, jumping upto second briefly in the Williams.

Russell also went earlier than most and improved to 1m24.418s in the Mercedes. Lando Norris finished less than a tenth behind in P2, though did lose time with a big slide exiting the final corner.

Piastri made it two McLarens in the top three as Albon's earlier lap remained good enough for fourth.

Ferrari was the last team onto soft tyres but lacked pace as Charles Leclerc was only fifth, almost seven-tenths behind Russell.

As for teammate Carlos Sainz, returning to the track after his crash on Friday, he ended the session slowest overall with just 1.2s covering the entire grid.

Verstappen continued to struggle for rear grip in his Red Bull, bailing out of his first flying lap on fresh tyres after a big slide at Turn 5.

He would go again after a suspension change but only managed sixth, ahead of Esteban Ocon in seventh.

Logan Sargeant sat P8 in the second Williams, Yuki Tsunoda was ninth and Zhou Guanyu rounded out the top 10.

Sergio Perez and Lewis Hamilton followed in 11th and 12th, followed by Pierre Gasly and the Aston Martin duo of Fernando Alonso and Lance Stroll.

Valtteri Bottas was 16th, with the two Haas' of Nico Hulkenberg and Kevin Magnussen 17th and 19th. Daniel Ricciardo took P18 with the aforementioned Sainz in P20.