Portugal, FP3: Verstappen beats Hamilton to top spot in final practice
Bottas 3rd, Perez 4th
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen went quickest in final practice for tomorrow’s Portuguese Grand Prix, beating championship leader Lewis Hamilton by almost three tenths of a second.
The final hour of practice got off to a slow start, with just Haas drivers Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin setting lap times. But after ten minutes the action began to heat up and Yuki Tsunoda took over at the top of the timesheet with a lap of 1:20.997.
A steady stream of drivers then enjoyed short spells at the top of the order befote the Mercedes and Red Bull cars appeared soon almost a third of the way through the session.
Red Bull’s Sergio Perez set the pace initially with a lap of 1:18.840s but was soon bettered, first by Hamilton and then by Verstappen, who led the way at the half way mark with a lap of 1:18.545.
In the final stages Hamilton went for another run but though he improved his time it was still only good enough to narrow the gap from P2 to 0.180.
Then, despite complaining of front-end instability and poor performance in the third sector, Verstappen found more time on the 4.653km track to post a session-fastest time of 1:18.489, 0.236s clear of Hamilton. Valtteri Bottas took third 0.331 off the pace, while Pérez finished fourth.
Esteban Ocon impressed to hand Alpine fifth place in a session that appeared much more difficult for team-mate Fernando Alonso, who finished in 14th place. Sixth and seventh places respectively were taken Ferrari drivers Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz, while Lando Norris was eighth for McLaren ahead of AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly and Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen.
|01||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Honda RB16B||1:18.489||21|
|02||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes W12||1:18.725||21|
|03||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes W12||1:18.820||19|
|04||Sergio Pérez||Red Bull Honda RB16B||1:18.840||25|
|05||Esteban Ocon||Alpine Renault A521||1:18.860||19|
|06||Charles Leclerc||Ferrari SF21||1:19.001||23|
|07||Carlos Sainz||Ferrari SF21||1:19.050||24|
|08||Lando Norris||McLaren Mercedes MCL35M||1:19.272||18|
|09||Pierre Gasly||AlphaTauri Honda AT02||1:19.374||25|
|10||Kimi Räikkönen||Alfa Romeo Ferrari C41||1:19.415||26|
|11||Yuki Tsunoda||AlphaTauri Honda AT02||1:19.485||25|
|12||Daniel Ricciardo||McLaren Mercedes MCL35M||1:19.582||19|
|13||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo Ferrari C41||1:19.588||23|
|14||Fernando Alonso||Alpine Renault A521||1:19.949||20|
|15||Mick Schumacher||Haas Ferrari VF-21||1:20.033||22|
|16||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin Mercedes AMR21||1:20.090||17|
|17||George Russell||Williams Mercedes FW43B||1:20.127||18|
|18||Sebastian Vettel||Aston Martin Mercedes AMR21||1:20.214||21|
|19||Nicholas Latifi||Williams Mercedes FW43B||1:20.681||19|
|20||Nikita Mazepin||Haas Ferrari VF-21||1:20.690||20|