A massive accident for Scuderia Toro Rosso rookie Alexander Albon brought the Chinese Grand Prix’s final practice session at the Shanghai International Circuit to an early finish.
The Anglo-Thai driver ran wide on to the Astroturf at the exit of the final corner and went into a tank-slapper as he tried to recover back to the circuit. His out-of-control STR14 was sent into the tyre wall at the entry of pit lane, with the impact ripping apart the left-hand side of the chassis and causing extensive front and rear damage.
Albon was shaken but unhurt, quickly escaping his battered car and heading to the Medical Centre for a mandatory check-up. He was soon declared unhurt, but the team quickly confirmed that the damage to his car is too extensive for him to take part in this afternoon’s qualifying session.
If ever we needed a reminder of how much Formula 1 has advanced in its safety standards on the eve of its 1,000th Grand Prix, this was it.
Albon’s accident brought FP3 to a close, leaving championship leader Valtteri Bottas – who was narrowly fastest in Friday’s second practice session – on top of the time sheets in the field’s final hit-out before qualifying.
Once again, the Mercedes-AMG driver was ahead of Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel on the time sheets, with a four-tenth of a second margin to the German and his teammate Charles Leclerc who finished third-quickest.
Bottas’ teammate Lewis Hamilton finished the session fourth-fastest after being unable to get a clear lap in the session, while Renault’s Nico Hülkenberg continued the factory team’s strong Chinese Grand Prix form from Friday by placing fifth in the session.
Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Räikkönen was an equally impressive sixth-fastest, with Max Verstappen a rather unrepresentative seventh in his Red Bull Racing Honda ahead of former Toro Rosso teammate Carlos Sainz Jr. in the McLaren.
Despite his accident, Albon was ninth-fastest with teammate Daniil Kvyat rounding out the top ten.
|FORMULA 1 HEINEKEN CHINESE GRAND PRIX 2019 – FREE PRACTICE SESSION 3|
|Driver||Team / Entry||Time||Gap||Laps|
|1.||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes-AMG Motorsport W10||1:32.830||11|
|2.||Sebastian Vettel||Scuderia Ferrari SF90||1:33.222||+ 0.392||12|
|3.||Charles Leclerc||Scuderia Ferrari SF90||1:33.248||+ 0.418||10|
|4.||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes-AMG Motorsport W10||1:33.689||+ 0.859||10|
|5.||Nico Hülkenberg||Renault F1 Team RS19||1:33.974||+ 1.144||11|
|6.||Kimi Räikkönen||Alfa Romeo Racing C38||1:34.246||+ 1.146||14|
|7.||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing RB15||1:34.447||+ 1.617||5|
|8.||Carlos Sainz Jr.||McLaren F1 Team MCL34||1:34.510||+ 1.680||9|
|9.||Alexander Albon||Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda STR14||1:34.600||+ 1.770||11|
|10.||Daniil Kvyat||Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda STR14||1:34.783||+ 1.953||10|
|11.||Lando Norris||McLaren F1 Team MCL34||1:34.938||+ 2.108||11|
|12.||Sergio Pérez||Racing Point F1 Team RP19||1:35.078||+ 2.248||9|
|13.||Daniel Ricciardo||Renault F1 Team RS19||1:35.142||+ 2.312||11|
|14.||Lance Stroll||Racing Point F1 Team RP19||1:35.223||+ 2.393||10|
|15.||Pierre Gasly||Red Bull Racing RB15||1:35.326||+ 2.496||8|
|16.||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo Racing C38||1:35.729||+ 2.896||12|
|17.||Romain Grosjean||Haas F1 Team VF-19||1:35.771||+ 2.941||14|
|18.||Kevin Magnussen||Haas F1 Team VF-19||1:35.998||+ 3.168||15|
|19.||George Russell||ROKiT Williams Racing FW42||1:36.124||+ 3.294||10|
|20.||Robert Kubica||ROKiT Williams Racing FW42||1:36.176||+ 3.346||11|
Image via Formula1.com