Canada, FP3: Verstappen quickest as Sainz crashes

Leclerc 2nd, Alonso 3rd


By Franck Drui

17 June 2023 - 19:38
Canada, FP3: Verstappen quickest as (...)

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen went quickest in a rain-affected final practice session for the 2023 FIA Formula 1 Canadian Grand Prix, beating Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc by almost three tenths of a second

Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso set the early pace in the session with a lap of 1:32.217 despite being hampered by the slow AlphaTauri of Yuki Tsunoda at the hairpin. Alonso’s former team-mate at Alpine, Esteban Ocon was the next to take top spot with a lap of 1:31.428 before Haas’ Nico Hülkenberg went quickest by seven tenths of second as the conditions began to improve and the lap times fell.

Tsunoda then moved ahead with a lap of 1:30.685 before Ocon returned to the top with more than three tenths of second in hand over Tsunoda.

In the meantime Alonso had moved from the blue-banded wet tyre to green intermediates and the Spaniard looked on course to go significantly quicker as he posted purple times across the first two sectors of the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. He was caught out in the final sector and had to back out of the chicane, compromising his lap.

Verstappen then posted a 1:29.190 to go fastest, 0.144s clear of Leclerc, who had also switched to intermediates and had made the most of the improved grip. Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas went a little over two tenths quicker before Alonso stitched together three good sectors to vault ahead with a lap 1:27.517.

Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz then moved ahead with a 1:27.245 but he was then beaten by over half a second as Leclerc put a 1:26.733 on the board. Verstappen was going quicker though and he reclaimed P1 with a lap of 1:24.977 before Leclerc improved and took top spot by 0.127s. Verstappen was finding more and more pace, however, and found four tenths of a second on his next attempt to move ahead once more.

The session was then red-flagged as Sainz hit the wall moments after moving up to second. The Spanish driver spun under braking at Turn 1 and hit the barriers with both the front and rear of his Ferrari.

After a delay of seven minutes, running resumed and Verstappen extended his advantage with a lap of 1:24.192s before eventually lowering the benchmark to an impressive 1m23.154.

Leclerc closed that gap to just over 0.2s before Verstappen posted a last 1:23.106 to keep hold of P1. .
There were no further improvements as the rain began to fall more steadily and Alonso ended up third fastest with a 1m24.483s, ahead of late improved Kevin Magnussen of Haas and the unfortunate Sainz.Pierre Gasly was sixth place, a tenth over home favourite Lance Stroll. Tsunoda was eighth, while Bottas was ninth and Lewis Hamilton completed the top 10.

01 Max Verstappen Red Bull Honda RBPT RB19 1:23.106 22
02 Charles Leclerc Ferrari SF-23 1:23.397 22
03 Fernando Alonso Aston Martin Mercedes AMR23 1:24.483 18
04 Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari VF-23 1:24.715 23
05 Carlos Sainz Ferrari SF-23 1:24.765 14
06 Pierre Gasly Alpine Renault A523 1:24.825 19
07 Lance Stroll Aston Martin Mercedes AMR23 1:24.944 22
08 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri Honda RBPT AT04 1:24.955 24
09 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo Ferrari C43 1:24.988 22
10 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes W14 1:25.087 20
11 Nico Hülkenberg Haas Ferrari VF-23 1:25.140 20
12 Oscar Piastri McLaren Mercedes MCL60 1:25.191 25
13 Lando Norris McLaren Mercedes MCL60 1:25.198 21
14 Alex Albon Williams Mercedes FW45 1:25.379 21
15 George Russell Mercedes W14 1:25.435 20
16 Nyck de Vries AlphaTauri Honda RBPT AT04 1:25.725 24
17 Sergio Pérez Red Bull Honda RBPT RB19 1:25.857 20
18 Guanyu Zhou Alfa Romeo Ferrari C43 1:26.750 23
19 Esteban Ocon Alpine Renault A523 1:26.840 20
20 Logan Sargeant Williams Mercedes FW45 1:27.279 16

Formula 1 news