Formula 1

Verstappen Ruins Mercedes’s Clean Sweep By Topping Final Practice At The French Grand Prix

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Credit: Red Bull Content Pool / Getty Images

Max Verstappen was fastest in the final practice session of the French Grand Prix, with a far superior lap over the rest of the grid. Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team had been dominating the weekend so far, but Verstappen finally pulled out a wonder lap which was seven-tenths faster than second place. Red Bull Racing team-mate Sergio Pérez was fourth fastest but nearly a second down on Verstappen.

Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton have swapped chassis for the weekend, and it shows in Bottas’ performances. He was second overall. Hamilton has struggled to match the pace of his team-mate and could only get a lap that put him fifth fastest. He’ll need a miracle to get himself on pole. 

Carlos Sainz Jr. continues on his fine form being the new driver in the Scuderia Ferrari. He finished third overall. His team-mate Charles Leclerc couldn’t break into the top ten, coming eleventh.

Lando Norris was sixth fastest in his McLaren F1 Team car. Curfew was broken last night on team-mate Daniel Ricciardo’s car. The team came across a sensor issue when changing the gearbox, meaning they had to work until late in the night. Ricciardo came tenth overall, with his pace looking slightly more promising than Friday’s.

Alpine F1 Team are looking the dark horses for a strong result this weekend. Fernando Alonso has got his car finely tuned and put in a lap with saw him go seventh fastest. Esteban Ocon is sure to be on a high after securing a three-year deal with the team and the fact that he’s currently at his home race. He was eighth fastest and looks to be flying.

Pierre Gasly was the fastest man at Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda. He was the only one of the team’s duo in the top ten coming in ninth. Yuki Tsunoda wasn’t having as much fun in his car. His fastest lap saw him finish down in eighteenth as he lost a number of laps for exceeding track limits at turn six.

Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN have seen their drivers break into the points at the previous two street races, but they don’t look as rapid back on a circuit. Antonio Giovinazzi came twelfth with Kimi Räikkönen not too far behind in fifteenth.

After the podium glory in Baku, it would be expected that Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team would be gunning to be in the top ten but their pace during practice hasn’t replicated that. Lance Stroll came thirteenth with Sebastian Vettel in fourteenth. They used much of the session concentrating on long-run pace before going for a solitary qualifying simulation in the final minutes.

Williams Racing have been having another quiet weekend. George Russell will be hoping his pace is stronger during qualifying if he wants to break into Q2 again. He came sixteenth overall with his team-mate Nicholas Latifi behind him in eighteenth.

Uralkali Haas F1 Team finished off the grid. Mick Schumacher came nineteenth fastest overall. Nikita Mazepin took an unfortunate spin coming out of Turn 2 early in the session, he came bottom in twentieth, over three seconds off the fastest lap.

Free Practice 3 Results

PosNODriverNat.TeamTimeGapLaps
133Max VerstappenNEDRed Bull Racing Honda1:31.30011
277Valtteri BottasFINMercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team1:32.047+0.747s14
355Carlos Sainz Jr.ESPScuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow1:32.195+0.895s17
411Sergio PérezMEXRed Bull Racing Honda1:32.238+0.938s15
544Lewis HamiltonGBRMercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team1:32.266+0.966s15
64Lando NorrisGBRMcLaren F1 Team1:32.336+1.036s14
714Fernando AlonsoESPAlpine F1 Team1:32.624+1.324s15
831Esteban OconFRAAlpine F1 Team1:32.681+1.381s16
910Pierre GaslyFRAScuderia AlphaTauri Honda1:32.707+1.407s16
103Daniel RicciardoAUSMcLaren F1 Team1:32.759+1.459s14
1116Charles LeclercMONScuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow1:32.820+1.520s15
1299Antonio GiovinazziITAAlfa Romeo Racing Orlen1:33.017+1.717s17
1318Lance StrollCANAston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team1:33.051+1.751s15
145Sebastian VettelGERAston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team1:33.200+1.900s18
157Kimi RäikkönenFINAlfa Romeo Racing Orlen1:33.328+2.028s16
1663George RussellGBRWilliams Racing1:33.364+2.064s16
1722Yuki TsunodaJAPScuderia AlphaTauri Honda1:33.424+2.124s17
186Nicholas LatifiCANWilliams Racing1:33.584+2.284s16
1947Mick SchumacherGERUralkali Haas F1 Team1:34.143+2.843s14
209Nikita MazepinRUSUralkali Haas F1 Team1:34.642+3.342s13
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