Following a dramatic Friday in Jeddah, FP3 got underway this afternoon after Formula 1 bosses decided it was safe to do so in the aftermath of an airstrike that occurred near the track.
According to the GDPA, Formula 1 bosses, authorities, and security officials confirmed the safety of all in attendance this weekend and have upgraded their security to the highest degree.
Charles Leclerc managed to knock Max Verstappen off the top spot in the final moments of FP3 – the dutchman lost time on his final flying lap after hitting the curb, so there is plenty more to come from the charging bulls in their fight for pole later this afternoon.
Mercedes were lagging behind once again, losing lap time on the straight to finish with Hamilton in P11 and Russell in P14.
Here’s the final timesheet for FP3:
Kevin Magnussen was back on track today in the Haas after meeting issues on Friday that saw him pit early during both Practice sessions.
That evening, Team Principal Guenther Steiner said: “Kevin had too many technical issues with the car but we’re working on it and will sort them out.”
His first lap was a 1:32.185s which moved him 10th fastest overall on the timesheet – he finished the day in eighth.
Ten minutes into the last practice in Saudi, the Ferrari’s were the first to put a time on the board – Charles Leclerc led at first, but was overtaken by Carlos Sainz, .04s ahead.
The Ferrari has been looking great once again this weekend, and prove to be the ones to beat so far this season – however, Red Bull has looked stronger on the back of Bahrain and will likely put up a fight to make up for a pointless season opener.
Reassuring viewers on the safety of going ahead this weekend, Alpine team boss, Otmar Szafnauer, said: “We had information from both the ministry of sport and defence, and also an independent senior consultant who is from a different country, but a very senior military person.
“They all said the same thing, that we’re completely safe racing here.”
Meanwhile, Mercedes team principal, Toto Wolff said: “It was a good meeting. The drivers are going to talk in the drivers’ meeting. The team principals have been assured we are protected here and it’s probably the safest place you can be in Saudi Arabia at the moment.
“We are racing. Was it a unanimous decision? Between the team principals, yes.”
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen headed out on track halfway through the session and seemed to be taking his time in getting going. Minutes later, the world champion landed at the top of the timesheets, beating out both Ferrari men.
His teammate Sergio Perez was in fourth at this point with Carlos Sainz hot on his tails – could this be the rivalry of 2022?
AlphaTauri meanwhile was running great laps at this intricate street circuit so far with Pierre Gasly in third and Yuki Tsunoda in sixth.
The pair ultimately finished in P7 and P10 respectively, as disaster struck the French driver after posting his fastest lap of the day – he was reporting issues with the driveshaft.
This brought his afternoon to an early close for Gasly with the team stating over the radio, “Stop the car, we will recover it.”
In the final seconds of FP3 Charles Leclerc knocked Max Verstappen off top spot with his very last lap, 0.033s ahead of the Red Bull.