This morning at Zandvoort, drivers had one final free hour on track to push their cars ahead of the Qualifying session taking place later this afternoon.
With 60 minutes on the clock, Red Bull’s Sergio Perez was the first to exit the pits to put a 1:13.792 on the board. His teammate, Max Verstappen – who had a difficult outing on Friday – arrived on track minutes later.
It looked as if the team did some major work overnight as the Dutchman immediately put a 1:12.309 on the board – marking a time difference of 0.6s compared to George Russell, who was also out on track at this point.
Verstappen came over the radio early on with complaints about the car, however, he still managed to go faster with a 1:12.196 to extend his advantage at the top of the timesheet.
He was joined at the top by Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz, who was up to second, but still more than 0.7s off the Dutchman.
The second Ferrari of Charles Leclerc improved his time to snatch second but he too remained more than half a second behind Verstappen. With around 36 minutes to go Lewis Hamilton was a tenth further back in third place in the Mercedes, as his teammate George Russell failed to improve on his efforts and stayed fifth.
Meanwhile, Lance Stroll was in sixth for Aston Martin and was showing good pace.
Red Bull may have been breathing a sigh of relief this morning after Friday’s shenanigans with Max Verstappen flying early doors, however, Sergio Perez appeared to be struggling again, and was 1.3s back from his team-mate down in ninth.
With just 18 minutes left on the track, the Red Bull driver was finally given a run for his money as Carlos Sainz went to the top of the timesheet with a 1:11.971.
Moments later, Charles Leclerc went fastest for the Italian team with a 1:11.632 to nab the top spot from his teammate with a difference in speed of more than 0.3s.
Mercedes’s George Russell also managed to better Sainz’s time, flying into second and now less than a tenth off Leclerc. Hamilton made an effort to join them at the top however, he ended up slower than Leclerc and Russell in all three sectors and finished 0.524s off the pace and in fourth.
Things were beginning to point to a hectic Qualifying as Max Verstappen attempted to respond to these improved FP3 times from his on track rivals, but he was unable to match them. He only had enough speed to go third fastest, and was around 0.2s off Leclerc’s leading effort.
The top of the timesheets remained as such until time ran out, with the real competition yet to be seen at the 14:00 Qualifying session ahead of the Dutch Grand Prix.