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Valtteri Bottas completed a clean sweep of the Tuscan Grand Prix practice sessions with the fastest lap of WATCH FREE – but Red Bull’s Max Verstappen managed to split the Mercedes cars by setting the second quickest time, just ahead of Lewis Hamilton.

Live: 2020 Tuscan Grand Prix Ferrari 1000
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Race details Date: today
Track: Mugello Circuit

13th September 2020, 12:30 |

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Lewis Hamilton put his car on pole for the 95th time before admitting he is braced for one of the most physically demanding races of his life in Sunday’s Tuscan Grand Prix.

Hamilton beat Valtteri Bottas in the other Mercedes by just 0.059 seconds on Formula One’s first foray to Mugello to take the seventh pole of a campaign which is set to earn the Briton a record-equalling seventh world title.

Ferrari’s test track is being used this weekend as a one-off to commemorate the Italian team’s 1,000th Grand Prix. It has been a miserable year for the Scuderia but they will take some joy in Charles Leclerc starting fifth – less so Sebastian Vettel who qualified a lowly 14th.

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Bottas was fastest in both Friday sessions and wasted no time on Saturday morning by setting the first flying lap in FP3. He was already leading the session halfway through but improved to an ultimate time of 1m16.530s – 0.017s faster than Verstappen and 0.083s faster than Hamilton.

READ MORE: Friday Pace Analysis – Why things are looking better for Ferrari at their 1000th GP

Verstappen bolted on a set of soft tyres in the dying minutes of the session and improved by half a second from his medium tyre benchmark to take P2, as he looks to get in amongst the two Silver Arrows in this afternoon’s fight for pole.

That put Racing Point’s Lance Stroll down to P4, 0.582s off. His car has new bargeboards, but team mate Sergio Perez has not got the new parts this weekend. They finished nearly four-tenths apart as Perez took sixth – and Italian Grand Prix winner Pierre Gasly split them for P5 in his AlphaTauri.

Lewis Hamilton put his car on pole for the 95th time before admitting he is braced for one of the most physically demanding races of his life in Sunday’s Tuscan Grand Prix.

Hamilton beat Valtteri Bottas in the other Mercedes by just 0.059 seconds on Formula One’s first foray to Mugello to take the seventh pole of a campaign which is set to earn the Briton a record-equalling seventh world title.

Ferrari’s test track is being used this weekend as a one-off to commemorate the Italian team’s 1,000th Grand Prix. It has been a miserable year for the Scuderia but they will take some joy in Charles Leclerc starting fifth – less so Sebastian Vettel who qualified a lowly 14th.

For Hamilton, he will move to within just one victory of Michael Schumacher’s record 91 wins – 72 of which the German claimed while racing for Ferrari – should he triumph. But the six-time world champion knows it will not be plane sailing at this fast-sweeping 3.26-mile circuit.

Hamilton will be nudging on 5.5G – almost double the force of a launching Space Shuttle – each of the 59 laps he races through Turns 6 to 9. He will pull 5G or greater in seven of the 15 corners.

Mark Webber did not pull any punches when he assessed the challenge ahead.

“Not one driver’s head is going to stay on around that track,” the nine-time grand prix winner said. “Their necks are going to snap in half. It’s so, so quick.”

“We are all athletes and we train but this track is incredibly physical and it is not at all easy to go through that fast section,” said Hamilton, 35.

Charles Leclerc was the last driver within a second of Bottas to take P7 for Ferrari ahead of their landmark 1000th Grand Prix, with his team mate Sebastian Vettel six-tenths behind in P18.

READ MORE: Mugello filming day gave Ferrari an edge, says Leclerc after ‘positive’ Friday performance

AlphaTauri’s Daniil Kvyat took P9 as Red Bull driver Alex Albon improved after the chequered flag had flown, the Thai driver 1.008s off top spot in eighth.

Romain Grosjean rounded out the top 10 for Haas, his team mate Kevin Magnussen 15th, but ahead of the Renaults of Esteban Ocon and Daniel Ricciardo. They spent most of the session on mediums but improved on softs, taking 11th and 17th, respectively.

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