Zandvoort, FP3: Verstappen powers clear in final practice for Dutch Grand Prix

Bottas 2nd, Hamilton 3rd


By Olivier Ferret

4 September 2021 - 13:03
Zandvoort, FP3: Verstappen powers (...)

Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen beat Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas by more than half a second to comfortably top the timesheet in the final practice session for the Dutch Grand Prix. Title leader Lewis Hamilton could only manage third, almost eight tenths of a second behind Verstappen.

At the start of the one-hour session one of the first cars on track was the Alfa Romeo of Robert Kubica. The Polish driver was handed a race seat for the remainder of the weekend after Kimi Räikkönen tested positive for COVID-19.

As Kubica cautiously gained familiarity with the circuit, eventually finishing in P19, Hamilton set the early benchmark with a lap of 1:12.010.

As the quarter-hour mark approached the bar was reset by Alpine’s Fernando Alonso who lapped in 1:11.996 on medium tyres. Hamilton extende3d his run however and he was soon back on top, though by the small margin of 0.032.

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc then took over at the top with a lap of 1:11.768 but Alonso also found more pace and he jumped back to P1 with a lap of 1:11.705.

However, soon after Alonso had reclaimed P1 the session was halted when Leclerc’s team-mate Carlos Sainz lost control of his Ferrari in Turn 2. The Spaniard spun and slapped the barriers on the outside of the banked Turn 3, damaging the left front and left rear of his car.

After a delay or more than 10 minutes the green flags were shown and Verstappen took to the track for the first time.

He immediately took P1 with a medium-tyre lap of 1:11.225. Bottas was on track just behind he then went 0.008s quicker, but used soft tyres to set the time.

Verstappen went for a second attempt and this time he sealed P1 with tour of 1:10.702. McLaren’s Lando Norris moved to second before Alonso again rose to the top of the timesheet on soft tyres thanks to a lap of 1:10.670s flying lap.

Bottas then emerged on more softs to steal P1 with a lap of 1:10.179s with Hamilton slotting into P3, 0.238s behind his team-mate.

Verstappen wasn’t finished, however, and when he headed out for a final run on softs he set purple times in all three sectors to take P1 with a lap of 1:09.623. His table-topping time was aided by a perfectly timed tow through the final two corners provided by team-mate Sergio Pérez. The lap put Verstappen 0.556s clear of Bottas and 0.794s ahead of Hamilton. Perez took fourth place at the flag with Alonso fifth ahead of Norris. Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll finished seventh ahead of team-mate Sebastian Vettel, while Leclerc headed AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly who rounded out the top 10.

01 Max Verstappen Red Bull Honda RB16B 1:09.623 13
02 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes W12 1:10.179 17
03 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes W12 1:10.417 22
04 Sergio Pérez Red Bull Honda RB16B 1:10.526 19
05 Fernando Alonso Alpine Renault A521 1:10.670 16
06 Lando Norris McLaren Mercedes MCL35M 1:10.781 18
07 Lance Stroll Aston Martin Mercedes AMR21 1:10.842 19
08 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin Mercedes AMR21 1:10.872 20
09 Charles Leclerc Ferrari SF21 1:10.896 20
10 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri Honda AT02 1:11.005 21
11 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren Mercedes MCL35M 1:11.013 19
12 Nicholas Latifi Williams Mercedes FW43B 1:11.083 19
13 Esteban Ocon Alpine Renault A521 1:11.180 23
14 George Russell Williams Mercedes FW43B 1:11.274 20
15 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo Ferrari C41 1:11.299 20
16 Carlos Sainz Ferrari SF21 1:11.940 5
17 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri Honda AT02 1:11.980 29
18 Nikita Mazepin Haas Ferrari VF-21 1:12.136 22
19 Robert Kubica Alfa Romeo Ferrari C41 1:12.162 28
20 Mick Schumacher Haas Ferrari VF-21 1:12.366 20

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