Huge scare as Albon crashes in final China practice

Huge scare as Albon crashes in final China practice

Alexander Albon climbs out of his crashed Toro Rosso car during final practice for the Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai on Saturday. Picture credit: AFP

Toro Rosso's Alexander Albon lost control and smashed at high speed towards the end of final practice on Saturday for the Chinese Grand Prix, bringing the session to a premature end.

Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas went fastest for the second practice in a row, with the Ferraris of Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc second and third.

The 23-year-old Albon climbed gingerly out of his wrecked car, but not after a huge scare that drew gasps from the crowd in Shanghai.

The Thai-Briton, who is in his first season in F1, careened into a wall as he entered the straight with less than 10 minutes left of third and final practice.

His car was badly mangled and there was a frantic call from engineers asking if he was okay.

"I'm fine, sorry," came the reply from a shaken Albon, who was able to walk away and was assessed by medical personnel.

He was later given the all-clear, but whether his ruined car can be ready for qualifying later Saturday remains to be seen.

Bottas clocked a leading time of one minute 32.830 seconds, 0.392 seconds ahead of Vettel and 0.418 of Leclerc.

World champion Lewis Hamilton was fourth in the other Mercedes.

Before his dramatic late smash, Albon clocked the ninth-quickest time.

Third practice timings:

1. Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Mercedes 1:32.830

2. Sebastian Vettel (GER) Ferrari 1:33.222

3. Charles Leclerc (MON) Ferrari 1:33.248

4. Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes 1:33.689

5. Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Renault 1:33.974

6. Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Alfa Romeo Racing 1:34.246

7. Max Verstappen (NED) Red Bull 1:34.447

8. Carlos Sainz (ESP) McLaren 1:34.510

9. Alexander Albon (THA) Toro Rosso 1:34.600

10. Daniil Kvyat (RUS) Toro Rosso 1:34.783

11. Lando Norris (GBR) McLaren 1:34.938

12. Sergio Perez (MEX) Racing Point 1:35.078

13. Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Renault 1:35.142

14. Lance Stroll (CAN) Racing Point 1:35.223

15. Pierre Gasly (FRA) Red Bull 1:35.326

16. Antonio Giovinazzi (ITA) Alfa Romeo Racing 1:35.726

17. Romain Grosjean (FRA) Haas 1:35.771

18. Kevin Magnussen (DEN) Haas 1:35.998

19. George Russell (GBR) Williams 1:36.124

20. Robert Kubica (POL) Williams 1:36.176