The fastest on track - Valtteri Bottas lays down the gauntlet to team mate Lewis Hamilton

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Valtteri Bottas (Mario Renzi /  Getty Images)
Valtteri Bottas (Mario Renzi / Getty Images)

• Valtteri Bottas set the fastest time for Third Practice.

• Bottas led from Hamilton and Verstappen.

• The red flag came out at the end of the 60-minute session.

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Valtteri Bottas set the fastest time at the end of the third practice session for this weekend's Portuguese Grand Prix. Drivers took almost ten minutes before venturing out on track but made the most of track-time over the remaining 50 minutes.

Bottas and Mercedes-AMG team mate Lewis Hamilton swapped fastest times, with Red Bull Racing's Max Verstappen keeping the leading duo on their toes. At the end of the 60-minute session, the gap between Bottas and Hamilton was a mere 0.026 seconds, and Verstappen only 0.158sec off Bottas' time.

Interestingly, both Bottas and Hamilton only ventured out on track on the Soft tyre, leaving them with more units of the Medium tyre for qualifying and the race.

Loose drain cover

As the session drew on, grip levels increased, and lap times became faster. Several drivers managed to put their names near the top of the leader board, but never really coming within striking distance of the top three drivers.

Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) made the most of the subtle upgrades Ferrari brought to the race this weekend, and managed to get within 0.6sec of Bottas' lap time. In the end, he finished the session with the sixth fastest time, but unable to trouble Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri) and Alex Albon (Red Bull Racing) in fourth and fifth.

WRAP: 2020 Portuguese Grand Prix - Bottas leads from Hamilton after Third Practice

With less than 1min30sec of the session remaining, the red flag was shown after a drain cover came loose. Regarded as a safety risk, drivers entered the pits while officials began work to fix it. The cover came loose after Leclerc's team mate, Sebastian Vettel, went wide and over a cover, which resulted in it sticking out.

Daniel Ricciardo reported DRS issues on his Renault, but luckily the team could fix it before the session as over. Sadly, he could not put in another fast lap because of the red flag.

Qualifying will take place at 15:00 today (24 October 2020).

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