Max Verstappen has dominated the third free practice. The Dutchman was almost one second behind the rest of the field, although teammate Sergio Pérez was six tenths in second place. Aston Martin seems to be the second team, followed by Lewis Hamilton. However, Ferrari does not seem to be there at all, because the Italians fell more than a second short of the Red Bull driver’s time and had to make do with fifth and tenth place.
The third free practice got off to a very quiet start. During the first ten minutes of the session, only the two Aston Martins were briefly on track to scrub the tyres, and both McLarens showed themselves on track. Real times were not set yet. Shortly after the first ten minutes had passed, several drivers followed, including Verstappen and the Alpines.
The one who certainly did not join them was Nyck de Vries. The Dutchman did not have a good start to the third free practice, because a problem with the engine was immediately discovered. The AlphaTauri driver therefore remained sidelined throughout practice, while his team changed the engine and prepared the car to take part in qualifying later on Saturday. Annoying for De Vries, who therefore saw the last chance to work on the setup go up in smoke.
Alpine proves speed
Alpine turned out to be fast on Friday, and on Saturday it was the French who came out strong. On the soft tyre, it is Pierre Gasly who sets the fastest time on the board, after which Verstappen and Ocon followed in P2 and P3. However, the Dutchman did this on the hard tyre. Mercedes also showed themselves and both drivers went over shortly after, with George Russell being the quickest of the two. However, it did not last long, because after Gasly first improved, it was the Red Bull driver who took over the fastest time with a 1.29.882. Ferrari was nowhere to be seen in any fields or roads, because Leclerc had already conceded more than seven tenths, on a compound softer.
In the end it was Pérez who set the fastest time on the soft tire with a 1.29.417, 0.329 faster than teammate, who accelerated shortly before. However, Verstappen could go a bit faster, because on hard tires he came within 0.132 of Pérez. Alpine followed Red Bull at 0.284 and 0.664 ahead of Gasly and Alonso. Many long runs were then held, but Hamilton failed to do so and improved to P4 0.402 from Pérez.
Verstappen the fastest in qualifying run
Pérez was also the first to record a fast time with a 1.29.127. Aston Martin also showed to be fast, as Alonso got to 0.479, and Hamilton was also fast with a time that brought him to four tenths. Then it was Verstappen’s turn. The Dutchman recorded a 1.28.756, with which he let the rest add no less than four tenths to the deficit. It could be even faster, because the two-time world champion drove just under tenth off his time. Ferrari was nowhere to be seen, and are more than a second short of the Dutchman, who finished fastest after driving another two-tenths off his time.