Spa, FP3: Pérez on top in FP3 at Spa-Francorchamps

Verstappen 2nd, Sainz 3rd

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By Franck Drui

27 August 2022 - 14:11
Spa, FP3: Pérez on top in FP3 at (...)

Red Bull Racing’s Sergio Pérez topped the timesheet in the final practice session ahead of qualifying for the 2022 FIA Formula 1 Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Franorchamps. The Mexican driver finished just under two tenths clear of championship-leading team-mate Max Verstappen, in a session that was briefly halted by a red flag when Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc spun off.

Early in the final hour of practice Alfa Romeo’s Zhou Guanyu took top spot with a lap of 1:47.795. That put a tenth ahead of team-mate Valtteri Bottas, with third and fourth places occupied by the Aston Martins of Lance Stroll and Sebastian Vettel. As the first third of the session elapsed Haas’ Kevin Magnussen jumped to third but there was trouble for the Dane’s team-mate Mick Schumacher with the German being called back to the pit lane after his team had spotted a problem on the car’s data.

Five minutes before the halfway point, Ferrari drivers Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz finally emerged from the pit exit, and Sainz quickly moved to top spot thanks to his lap of 1:46.461 on softs compound Pirelli tyres. Meanwhile, Leclerc;s opening qualifying simulation left him four tenths off his Spanish team-mate.

Pérez then joined the action and the Mexican posted a lap of 1:45.972s to claim P1. Verstappen’s first run was inconclusive, however, as the championship leader made a mistake into the Bus Stop chicane and without an improvement he dropped to 12th place. His next run wasn’t without problems, either, as his race engineer advised him to back out of the run after he appeared to miss yellow flags brought out when AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly went wide at Blanchimont. However, after looking at the incident race officials gave the Red Bull driver the all clear and he vaulted to the top of the order half a second clear of his team-mate.

The session was then halted when Leclerc briefly brought out the race flags. The Ferrari driver went off track at Fagnes and clattered through the gravel trap before brushing the barriers without damage. The Ferrari driver was able to rejoin and the red flag period was short.

When the green flags flew again, Verstappen improved to 1:45.184s to apparently consolidate his position in P1 but in the final minutes Perez delivered a better lap, crossing the line in 1:45.047 to steal top spot away from his team-mate.

With Sainz third behind the Red Bulls, McLaren’s Lando Norris finished fourth ahead of Alpine’s Fernando Alonso, while Mercedes’ George Russell took sixth ahead of Leclerc. Eighth place went to Sebastian Vettel, Esteban Ocon finished ninth and Gasly took 10th place.

Pos.DriverCarTimeLaps
01 Sergio Perez Red Bull RBPT RB18 1:45.047 19
02 Max Verstappen Red Bull RBPT RB18 1:45.184 19
03 Carlos Sainz Ferrari F1-75 1:45.824 13
04 Lando Norris McLaren Mercedes MCL36 1:45.965 20
05 Fernando Alonso Alpine Renault A522 1:46.061 16
06 George Russell Mercedes W13 1:46.071 19
07 Charles Leclerc Ferrari F1-75 1:46.120 12
08 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin Mercedes AMR22 1:46.166 18
09 Esteban Ocon Alpine Renault A522 1:46.601 24
10 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri RBPT AT03 1:46.604 19
11 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren Mercedes MCL36 1:46.646 18
12 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes W13 1:46.769 20
13 Nicholas Latifi Williams Mercedes FW44 1:46.811 20
14 Alex Albon Williams Mercedes FW44 1:46.836 20
15 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo Ferrari C42 1:46.881 20
16 Lance Stroll Aston Martin Mercedes AMR22 1:46.975 16
17 Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari VF-22 1:46.982 14
18 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri RBPT AT03 1:47.035 23
19 Guanyu Zhou Alfa Romeo Ferrari C42 1:47.089 20
20 Mick Schumacher Haas Ferrari VF-22 1:52.494 6

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