Portugal, FP3: Verstappen beats Hamilton to top spot in final practice

Bottas 3rd, Perez 4th


By Olivier Ferret

1 May 2021 - 14:09
Portugal, FP3: Verstappen beats (...)

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

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