Red Bull’s Max Verstappen goes fastest this morning!
Teams and drivers returned to the track for the final hour of practice this morning ahead of an all-important Qualifying session for the Spanish Grand Prix.
Fernando Alonso was the first driver out in his Alpine after some promising Friday results for the whole team ahead of his home Grand Prix.
Red Bull’s Sergio Perez was the second on track, with 48 minutes to go, and went fastest on his first lap on the mediums, with a 1:20.388.
McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo was just a tenth back on Perez, while Alpine’s Alonso was 0.3s off the early fastest pace.
Minutes later, Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc clocked the first lap of the day at the 1:18 mark moving ahead of Giovinazzi who was topping the timesheets prior to the Ferrari’s run.
Carlos Sainz joined his Monegasque teammate at the top of the table, however, the pair were knocked back once the Mercedes duo arrived on track.
After a slow start, all drivers were out of pits with 34 minutes to go in the final free practice session – with Hamilton now going fastest with a 1:18.3.
🏁 #SpanishGP FP3 ✅
Final practice is complete and the stage is set for a battle 🤺
We'll be bringing #TheEnergyWithin but let's hear your support, Team #PETRONASmotorsports! 💚 pic.twitter.com/kNKuVTTW9W
— PETRONAS Motorsports (@PET_Motorsports) May 8, 2021
Meanwhile, Red Bull’s Verstappen stayed on the mediums for another lap – and after matching Hamilton in the first sector, the Dutch driver finished the lap half a second off the pace.
Another team on track this weekend showing decent pace was AlphaTauri, as they continue to lead the midfield today after a similarly impressive run on Friday.
Pierre Gasly was in P7 on the medium tyre with 18 minutes to go, while Yuki Tsunoda was a tenth off.
Towards the end of the session, Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen got a small puncture which sent him back to the pits – prior to this, the Finnish driver was able to lift his C41 into a temporary fifth.
Lando Norris, meanwhile, found the gravel on Turn 10 this morning – although he managed to avoid beaching his MCL35M, returning to the track fifth fastest, just ahead of his teammate Ricciardo in sixth.
Norris goes off 😧
A snap of oversteer sees the Brit into the gravel, but he is able to return to the track #SpanishGP 🇪🇸 #F1 pic.twitter.com/0O2XXjdD3K
— Formula 1 (@F1) May 8, 2021
In the final minutes this morning, less than a second separated 1st and 13th place, proving there will be an extremely tight battle ahead.
Coming home fastest in FP3 was Verstappen with a 1:17.8, followed by Hamilton in second and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc in third.
The second Ferrari of Carlos Sainz was very close behind in fourth, followed by Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas in fifth.
Filling out the top ten was the McLaren duo of Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo in P6 and P8, split by the Alpha Tauri of Pierre Gasly in P7.
Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen managed to remain in the top ten with his final lap before retiring to the pits earlier on, landing in P9, while the second Red Bull of Sergio Perez was in tenth.
Qualifying kicks off this afternoon at 2:00 pm in Spain.