Leclerc Fastest Ahead Of Verstappen, Vettel in Final Practice in Germany

by Aaron Gillard
Leclerc - Ferrari - German FP3

Scuderia Ferrari resumed their strong pace from Friday with Charles Leclerc setting the fastest time in Free Practice 3 ahead of Qualifying for the German Grand Prix.

Leclerc placed a 1:12.380 to go on top in the session ahead of Red Bull Racing‘s Max Verstappen, who managed to split both Ferrari cars as Sebastian Vettel for his home race set the third best time. Mercedes AMG Motorsport were on the back foot as Valtteri Bottas set the fourth best time whilst Lewis Hamilton could only go sixth fastest.

The final practice session began with Alexander Albon and Kevin Magnussen heading out on track first. The track conditions were cooler than Friday’s practice sessions with overcast and a threat of rain within the German forests circulating around Hockenheim.

Bottas was the first driver out of the front runners to head out on track with 50 minutes of the session left, with Hamilton soon following behind him. Bottas during his first run ran wide at Turn 2, going onto the grass and aborting his opening lap.

Carlos Sainz Jr. in the McLaren led the session within the opening minutes before Hamilton placed a 1:13.767 with his first run, taking the top spot as a result. Bottas placed his first fast lap in, but was half a second short from his team-mate.

The two Ferrari drivers started their hot laps and quickly dispatched both Mercedes cars by going fastest overall with Leclerc setting a 1:13.117 whilst Vettel was second overall, only 0.252 seconds short from his team-mate. Hamilton improved his time, but couldn’t match the early pace from the Ferrari cars.

Leclerc broke into the 1:12s and resuming his lead in the session by setting a 1:12.736 with 40 minutes left to go. Alfa Romeo Racing‘s Kimi Räikkönen pushed hard to break into the top five alongside Albon whilst Verstappen managed to surpass both Mercedes cars but fell short to both Ferrari cars with the third best time of the session as they reached the half way point.

A number of drivers’ laps were deleted for abusing track limits at Turn 1. Vettel, Daniil Kvyat and Räikkönen had their times deleted as a result, although their times they set were not their personal bests.

Leclerc managed to find more time by placing a 1:12.387 to continue his quick pace in the session. Vettel with some setup changes managed to improve, but still fell short of his team-mate by 2 tenths of a second with 15 minutes to go.

Verstappen in the Red Bull managed to split both Ferrari cars, going second fastest ahead of Vettel but short of Leclerc’s time, who managed to improve into a 1:12.380. Magnussen jumped into the top five in his Haas F1 car, just over half a second short from the leading Ferrari.

Vettel and Hamilton’s fast times were later deleted for exceeding track limits at Turn 1 and the final corner during their hot laps. Hamilton’s time originally placed him in fourth, but the deleted time saw him demoted down to eighth place. Vettel remained in third despite having his time deleted during the session.

The session concluded with Leclerc once again topping a practice session over the weekend ahead of Verstappen and Vettel. Bottas and Magnussen round off the top five whilst Hamilton ended a challenging final practice session sixth overall heading into qualifying.

Pos.No.DriverNat.TeamTime
116Charles LeclercMONScuderia Ferrari1:12.380
233Max VerstappenNEDAston Martin Red Bull Racing+0.168
35Sebastian VettelGERScuderia Ferrari+0.264
477Valtteri BottasFINMercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport+0.510
520Kevin MagnussenDENRich Energy Haas F1 Team+0.513
644Lewis HamiltonGBRMercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport+0.585
755Carlos Sainz Jr.ESPMcLaren F1 Team+0.920
810Pierre GaslyFRAAston Martin Red Bull Racing+0.944
97Kimi RäikkönenFINAlfa Romeo Racing+0.971
108Romain GrosjeanFRARich Energy Haas F1 Team+0.998
1111Sergio PérezMEXSportPesa Racing Point F1 Team+1.096
1227Nico HülkenbergGERRenault F1 Team+1.116
1323Alexander AlbonTHARed Bull Toro Rosso Honda+1.174
144Lando NorrisGBRMcLaren F1 Team+1.176
1599Antonio GiovinazziITAAlfa Romeo Racing+1.291
1618Lance StrollCANSportPesa Racing Point F1 Team+1.292
1726Daniil KvyatRUSRed Bull Toro Rosso Honda+1.387
183Daniel RicciardoAUSRenault F1 Team+1.436
1988Robert KubicaPOLROKiT Williams Racing+3.160
2063George RussellGBRROKiT Williams Racing+3.444

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