Spa, FP3: Verstappen tops wet final practice in Belgium
Perez 2nd, Hamilton 3rd
Max Verstappen set the pace ahead of qualifying for the FIA Formula 1 Belgian Grand Prix with the Dutch driver finishing almost a second clear of team-mate Serio Pérez and Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton at the end of a wet final practice session.
Rain in the two hours before the session had been heavy enough to delay the earlier Formula 3 race and though the F1 session got underway on time it was on a still very wet track.
Teams were quick to maximise the time available however and as conditions gradually improved the lap times began to tumble. Williams’ George Russell kicked things off with a time of 2:05.546 but within 15 minutes the track was good enough for Hamilton to dip under 2 minutes with a lap of 1:57.996s.
Verstappen, meanwhile, bided his time, claiming P7 with his first flying lap of the session and then steadily improved to eventually usurp Hamilton with a lap of 1:56.924s just before the 20 minute mark. Pérez grabbed P3 with his opening time but then improved to second behind his team-mate, albeit 0.924s slower than Verstappen.
That proved to be the end of the improvement as rain then began to fall again and the dry line was quickly eroded.
While many teams were content to call time on running, a few did brave the conditions, with Alpine’s Esteban Ocon putting in an extended run on intermediates in the closing 20 minutes and he took P5 on the timesheet behind Lando Norris.
In the final minutes of the session, as the sun began to shine on La Source, the McLaren driver opted to bolt on a set of soft slick tyres but after gingerly navigating the still wet track and as he approached the Bus Stop chicane he erred on the side of caution and backed out of a push lap.
Behind Norris, sixth place went to Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll, with AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly in seventh. The Frenchman was followed by the second Aston of Sebastian Vettel and the Williams of George Russell, while Fernando Alonso rounded out the top 10 for Alpine.
|01||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Honda RB16B||1:56.924||10|
|02||Sergio Pérez||Red Bull Honda RB16B||1:57.871||7|
|03||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes W12||1:57.996||9|
|04||Lando Norris||McLaren Mercedes MCL35M||1:58.509||11|
|05||Esteban Ocon||Alpine Renault A521||1:58.913||15|
|06||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin Mercedes AMR21||1:59.205||16|
|07||Pierre Gasly||AlphaTauri Honda AT02||1:59.324||14|
|08||Sebastian Vettel||Aston Martin Mercedes AMR21||1:59.436||15|
|09||George Russell||Williams Mercedes FW43B||1:59.492||9|
|10||Fernando Alonso||Alpine Renault A521||1:59.613||16|
|11||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes W12||1:59.808||14|
|12||Nicholas Latifi||Williams Mercedes FW43B||1:59.981||11|
|13||Daniel Ricciardo||McLaren Mercedes MCL35M||2:00.456||13|
|14||Carlos Sainz||Ferrari SF21||2:00.749||16|
|15||Mick Schumacher||Haas Ferrari VF-21||2:01.269||18|
|16||Charles Leclerc||Ferrari SF21||2:01.370||14|
|17||Yuki Tsunoda||AlphaTauri Honda AT02||2:01.510||20|
|18||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo Ferrari C41||2:01.512||20|
|19||Nikita Mazepin||Haas Ferrari VF-21||2:01.792||18|
|20||Kimi Räikkönen||Alfa Romeo Ferrari C41||2:04.382||3|