Austria, FP3: Verstappen quickest in final practice

Bottas 2nd, Hamilton 3rd

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By Olivier Ferret

3 July 2021 - 13:02
Austria, FP3: Verstappen quickest (...)

Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen reasserted his authority at the Red Bull Ring by beating Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas to top spot in final practice for the Austrian Grand Prix as Lewis Hamilton finished third, almost seventh tenths of a second behind the championship leader.

Hamilton had eclipsed Verstappen on Friday afternoon but in the last hour of practice befoe qualifying the Dutch driver again showed the pace that took him to an emphatic Styrian Grand Prix victory at this circuit last weekend.

After early running on the test tyre compound on offer from Pirelli this weekend, Verstappen took to the track on soft tyres and with his first flying lap he jumped to the top of the order with a lap of 1:04.941s just before the halfway mark.

Mercedes delayed the running on this weekend’s competition compounds until the final third of the session but when they did take to the track on soft tyres, Hamilton could only manage second place almost half a second adrift of Verstappen after taking too much kerb in Turn 1 and losing time on the long run up to Turn 3.

In the final 10 minutes of the session the front-runners went for a second qualifying sim and Verstappen impressively lowered the benchmark by four tenths with a lap of 1:04.591s.

Hamilton would have held second four tenths behind the Dutch driver but his late flyer of 1:04.994s was deleted due to running wide in the final corner.

Thus, Bottas was able to take second place at the flag thanks to his second quali sim time of 105.129.

AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly finished fourth ahead of Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi and Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz.

Verstappen’s team-mate Sergio Perez had an inconclusive session. The Mexican ran hard tyres at the start off the session but when he bolted on softs he was only able to climb to seventh place at the flag.

Fernando Alonso finished eighth ahead of Charles Leclerc while the top 10 was rounded out by Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel.

Pos.DriverCarTimeLaps
01 Max Verstappen Red Bull Honda RB16B 1:04.591 15
02 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes W12 1:05.129 22
03 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes W12 1:05.277 20
04 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri Honda AT02 1:05.280 27
05 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo Ferrari C41 1:05.345 27
06 Carlos Sainz Ferrari SF21 1:05.347 29
07 Sergio Pérez Red Bull Honda RB16B 1:05.396 20
08 Fernando Alonso Alpine Renault A521 1:05.434 23
09 Charles Leclerc Ferrari SF21 1:05.484 35
10 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin Mercedes AMR21 1:05.542 22
11 Lance Stroll Aston Martin Mercedes AMR21 1:05.546 19
12 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri Honda AT02 1:05.561 23
13 Esteban Ocon Alpine Renault A521 1:05.674 22
14 George Russell Williams Mercedes FW43B 1:05.694 23
15 Lando Norris McLaren Mercedes MCL35M 1:05.700 23
16 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren Mercedes MCL35M 1:05.725 21
17 Kimi Räikkönen Alfa Romeo Ferrari C41 1:05.747 31
18 Mick Schumacher Haas Ferrari VF-21 1:06.078 26
19 Nicholas Latifi Williams Mercedes FW43B 1:06.105 17
20 Nikita Mazepin Haas Ferrari VF-21 1:06.289 28

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