Max Verstappen and Lando Norris had a perilous moment during the third free practice session for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. In the last quarter of an hour of the session, the two drivers almost had a big crash. F1Maximum lists the on-board radios of the Red Bull Racing and McLaren drivers – and much more.
To start with Lewis Hamilton, who was doing a fast lap after 37 minutes and suddenly had to let go of his gas. A slow Aston Martin got in the way of the seven-time world champion. ‘Traffic…’, the 38-year-old sounded disappointed over the on-board radio. Hamilton eventually finished fifth, but one second behind fastest man Verstappen.
Charles Leclerc was sixth and his session did not go entirely according to plan either. That can also be said about his season start. The Monegask already dropped out in Bahrain, has a ten-place penalty for this weekend as a result of a parts change and something did not go quite right in FP3 either. He said this after a test start around the halfway point of the session. “I’ve lost first gear.”
Pérez has literal mirror problems, Aston Martin figuratively
Sergio Pérez, on the other hand, was well underway in his RB19. The Mexican was an excellent second, but six tenths away from his teammate. With nineteen minutes to go, something wasn’t quite right with his car. “My right mirror keeps coming down,” said the 33-year-old. It had no major consequences for Pérez, who could just continue on his way.
A slow Aston Martin getting in someone’s way: it already happened to Hamilton and former Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas also had to believe it. With sixteen minutes remaining, the Alfa Romeo driver encountered a green car on the Jeddah Street Circuit. “I was blocked by the Aston,” said the Finn. Not a word was lied to that.
Norris meets Verstappen: ‘That was dangerous’
Three minutes later, not an Aston Martin, but a Red Bull drove slowly. It was Verstappen. who was not doing a fast lap. Norris was and ran into the Dutchman at full speed in the first sector. ‘That was dangerous. Don’t they have an on-board radio? That could have been a mega crash,” the McLaren driver complained.
Verstappen was not aware of any harm and clearly stated over the on-board radio – which did work – that he was not happy with the situation. ‘Mate…’, said the reigning world champion, after which a lot of swear words followed. Engineer Gianpiero Lambiase apologized to Verstappen, who got away with a warning from race management.