Jeddah, FP3: Verstappen quickest in final practice

Ahead of Hamilton and Perez


By Olivier Ferret

4 December 2021 - 16:08
Jeddah, FP3: Verstappen quickest in (...)

Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen went quickest in the final free practice for the FIA Formula 1 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix,beating title rival Lewis Hamilton by two tenths of a second, with Sergio Pérez third in the second Red Bull.

Hamilton and Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas were among the first out on tyrack at the start of the hour-long session with both on hard compound Pirelli tyres. Bottas soon took P1 with a lap of 1:30.394 but was soon demoted by Hamilton who posted a lap of 1:29.605 before working his way down to 1:28.314.

Verstappen chose soft tyres for his early runs and his second flying lap was good enough for P2 three tenths behind title rival Hamilton. The Dutchman stayed out on the same set of soft tyres for nine laps and chipped away at his lap time until he eventually got down to 1m28.105 as all runners switched to softs for the final 15 minutes.

AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda took third with 10 minutes to go but was ultimately demoted by Perez who found a late improvement with the lap of 1:28.629. Tsunoda finished fourth ahead of AlphaTauri team-mate Pierre Gasly. Bottas ended the session in sixth place some ninth tenths of a second off Verstappen’s time.

Charles Leclerc recovered from yesterday’s heavy crash second practice to finish seventh and he was followed by team-mate Carlos Sainz. Esteban Ocon took ninth ahead of Norris and Alpine teammate Fernando Alonso.

There were two nervous moments in the session, both when Hamilton stayed on the racing line on a cool-down lap. Gasly was foerced to brake heavily in Turn 1 to avoid running into the back of the Mercedes and later in the lap Haas’ Nikita Mazepin had to take avoiding action to miss the slow Mercedes.

01 Max Verstappen Red Bull Honda RB16B 1:28.100 20
02 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes W12 1:28.314 23
03 Sergio Pérez Red Bull Honda RB16B 1:28.629 21
04 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri Honda AT02 1:28.641 20
05 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri Honda AT02 1:28.715 22
06 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes W12 1:29.019 19
07 Charles Leclerc Ferrari SF21 1:29.101 22
08 Carlos Sainz Ferrari SF21 1:29.149 19
09 Esteban Ocon Alpine Renault A521 1:29.177 19
10 Lando Norris McLaren Mercedes MCL35M 1:29.300 18
11 Fernando Alonso Alpine Renault A521 1:29.418 21
12 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo Ferrari C41 1:29.590 20
13 Kimi Räikkönen Alfa Romeo Ferrari C41 1:29.689 24
14 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren Mercedes MCL35M 1:29.724 19
15 Lance Stroll Aston Martin Mercedes AMR21 1:30.030 14
16 George Russell Williams Mercedes FW43B 1:30.034 17
17 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin Mercedes AMR21 1:30.296 15
18 Nicholas Latifi Williams Mercedes FW43B 1:30.366 17
19 Mick Schumacher Haas Ferrari VF-21 1:30.933 20
20 Nikita Mazepin Haas Ferrari VF-21 1:30.979 23

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