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.

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

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.