Imola, FP3: Verstappen quickest in final practice for Emilia Romagna Grand Prix

Norris 2nd, Hamilton 3rd


By Olivier Ferret

17 April 2021 - 12:09
Imola, FP3: Verstappen quickest in (...)

Max Verstappen set the fastest lap of final practice for tomorrow’s FIA Formula 1 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, beating McLaren’s Lando Norris by almost half a second as defending World Champion Lewis Hamilton finished third.

The session got off to the slow start, with just Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Räikkönen and the Haas cars of mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin circling. In a signal of what was to become a regular feature of the session, all three quickly fell foul of track limits monitoring at Turn 9 and had their laps deleted.

After they had recovered and posted times, Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc then made his way to P1 on his first flying lap with a time of 1:17.321. He improved again but then was eclipsed by Red Bull’s Sergiuo Pérez who set a new benchmark at 1:16.332.

The session was briefly red-flagged when Nicholas Latifi spun off at the Villeneuve chicane and clipped the wall. The Canadian was able to continue, however, and after he limped back to the pits for repairs the action quickly resumed.

Latifi’s crash had derailed Verstappen’s first run of the morning and when the green light was given the Dutchman was straight back on track. He took P1 with his first flying lap but that was soon deleted for a track limits infringement and he dropped to the foot of the timesheet.

Bottas took top spot with a lap of 1:15.984 but Verstappen, after a messy second attempt, then got it right at the third time of asking with a new fastest lap of 1:15.895.

It wasn’t good enough to remain the standard, however, and Pierre Gasly powered past the time before Leclerc bolted on a set of soft tyres and rose to P1 with a lap of 1:15.738.

He was then demoted by Hamilton on softs, before Norris moved into the lead with the lap of 1:15.414. Verstappen was winding up for another attempt on red rubber, however, and after setting fastest times in the final two sectors he took P1 with a lap of 1:14.958, 0.456 ahead of Norris.

With Hamilton third behind Norris, fourth place went to Sergio Peerez in the second Red Bull, with Leclerc fifth for Ferrari. Gasly took an impressive for AlphaTauri, while Sainz finished seventh in the other Ferrari. Bottas, who made a mistake on one run, finished in eighth ahead of the Alpine pairing of Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon.

01 Max Verstappen Red Bull Honda RB16B 1:14.958 18
02 Lando Norris McLaren Mercedes MCL35M 1:15.414 17
03 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes W12 1:15.515 18
04 Sergio Pérez Red Bull Honda RB16B 1:15.551 18
05 Charles Leclerc Ferrari SF21 1:15.738 21
06 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri Honda AT02 1:15.890 22
07 Carlos Sainz Ferrari SF21 1:15.908 21
08 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes W12 1:15.908 19
09 Fernando Alonso Alpine Renault A521 1:16.186 20
10 Esteban Ocon Alpine Renault A521 1:16.228 20
11 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri Honda AT02 1:16.230 20
12 Lance Stroll Aston Martin Mercedes AMR21 1:16.245 19
13 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren Mercedes MCL35M 1:16.253 17
14 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin Mercedes AMR21 1:16.389 19
15 George Russell Williams Mercedes FW43B 1:16.427 20
16 Mick Schumacher Haas Ferrari VF-21 1:16.448 22
17 Nicholas Latifi Williams Mercedes FW43B 1:16.537 15
18 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo Ferrari C41 1:16.612 22
19 Kimi Räikkönen Alfa Romeo Ferrari C41 1:16.803 23
20 Nikita Mazepin Haas Ferrari VF-21 1:17.398 23

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