George Russell headlined the final practice session of the season as Mercedes fired a warning to Ferrari in their fight for second in the constructors' championship, while Max Verstappen struggled around the Yas Marina Circuit.
Teams spent much of the session on longer runs to dial in their cars for Sunday's feature race, leaving the headline times for the last few minutes as they pitted for soft tyres and went out for qualifying practice runs.
Verstappen seemed uncomfortable with the setup of his Red Bull, changing a number of things on the front of his championship-winning car as he looked a little less than his normally dominant self.
Russell's pace was consistent with what he's shown across the weekend as a whole so far, having put in strong performances in FP1 and FP2. His Mercedes was fired up nicely throughout the session, sending a big warning to his Ferrari rivals ahead of the afternoon's qualifying session at the Yas Marina Circuit.
The Ferraris of Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc languished down near the bottom of the timing sheets for much of the session, but their good pace on Friday suggests that they were running heavier fuel loads for FP3 rather than those long runs reflecting their true pace.
However, the Prancing Horses also struggled later in the session when going for their flying qualifying situations – and appeared baffled by the gap between themselves and the Brit.
The pace of the two Aston Martins was intriguing given their struggles in the second half of the season, as they aim to make up the 11 points to McLaren in the constructors' championship.
The McLarens of Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri also looked strong on their long runs though, meaning that Saturday afternoon's qualifying session could become all the more important.
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