France, FP3: Verstappen moves to the front in final practice

Sainz 2nd, Leclerc 3rd


By Olivier Ferret

23 July 2022 - 14:09
France, FP3: Verstappen moves to (...)

FIA Formula One World Drivers’ Championship leader Max Verstappen set the pace in the final hour of practice for the French Grand Prix, beating Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz by more than three tenths of a second. Third place in the session went to Charles Leclerc who finished over six tenths of a second off the pace in the other Ferrari.

After a tricky Friday, after which he admitted to being uncomfortable with his car, Red Bull’s Sergio Perez was one of the first out on track at the start of FP3 and the Mexican posted an early time of 1:33.628 on medium Pirelli tyres to get things going. The Mexican driver’s team-mate Verstappen also joined the action early on and immediately went quickest with a lap of 1:32.837 on mediums. He then improved to 1:32.808s as Pérez also found more time to briefly shore up P2 before Sainz arrived to split the Red Bulls with a lap of 1:33.217.

With both Ferrari drivers forced to abandon laps due to spins and moments of lost control Verstappen’s early benchmark remained unchallenged until after the halfway point.

Sainz then moved to P2 with a lap of 1:33.172 but was quickly bounced out of the place by Leclerc who posted a lap of 1:32.909 to sit just a tenth of a lap off Verstappen medium-tyre best.

On soft tyres. Sainz finally found the measure of Verstappen and jumped to P1 in the final 10 minutes of the session with a time of 1:32.626 lap. Verstappen, though, had also emerged on soft tyres and he powered past Sainz’s best effort with a lap of 1:32.272 that would keep him in top spot until the flag.

Sainz, who will start at the back of the grid due to power unit penalties, and Leclerc finished the session in second and third places respectively and the Ferrari pair were followed by Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton who took fourth place with a lap 1:33.255. The seven-time champion was the last man within a second of Verstappen’s time.

Pérez again looked ill at ease in his RB18 and he finished the session in fifth place, 1.021s off his team-mate. Sixth place went to George Russell in the other Mercedes, while Fernando Alonso boosted home team Alpine’s chances of a good weekend with seventh place ahead of the Williams of Alexander Albon. McLaren’s Lando Norris was ninth and the final top-10 place went to AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda. Further back Haas’ Kevin Magnussen, who will also start from the back of the grid due to PU penalties, finished in 16th place.

01 Max Verstappen Red Bull RBPT RB18 1:32.272 23
02 Carlos Sainz Ferrari F1-75 1:32.626 14
03 Charles Leclerc Ferrari F1-75 1:32.909 20
04 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes W13 1:32.255 21
05 Sergio Perez Red Bull RBPT RB18 1:33.293 25
06 George Russell Mercedes W13 1:33.376 18
07 Fernando Alonso Alpine Renault A522 1:33.505 18
08 Alex Albon Williams Mercedes FW44 1:33.558 19
09 Lando Norris McLaren Mercedes MCL36 1:33.669 16
10 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri RBPT AT03 1:33.751 19
11 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren Mercedes MCL36 1:33.788 17
12 Nicholas Latifi Williams Mercedes FW44 1:33.841 16
13 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri RBPT AT03 1:33.869 18
14 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo Ferrari C42 1:33.872 20
15 Guanyu Zhou Alfa Romeo Ferrari C42 1:33.911 19
16 Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari VF-22 1:34.031 23
17 Esteban Ocon Alpine Renault A522 1:34.122 18
18 Lance Stroll Aston Martin Mercedes AMR22 1:34.177 20
19 Mick Schumacher Haas Ferrari VF-22 1:34.222 12
20 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin Mercedes AMR22 1:34.536 11

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