Lewis Hamilton edged out Max Verstappen in final practice for the Hungarian Grand Prix as the two title protagonists led the way at the Hungaroring on Saturday morning.
On the back of their collision on the opening lap of the British Grand Prix, all eyes have been on the battle between the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team and Red Bull Racing drivers, and the duo were again at the front of the field in the final running before Qualifying.
Hamilton set a best time of 1:16.826 to edge out Verstappen by 0.088 seconds, while it seems to be advantage Mercedes as Valtteri Bottas ended third despite a big lock-up at the chicane on his final flying lap that saw the Finn go off track.
The second Red Bull of Sergio Pérez was down in seventh, with the Mexican appearing to be struggling in comparison to his team-mate Verstappen. Pérez ended up behind both Scuderia Ferrari drivers and McLaren F1 Team’s Lando Norris, but more alarmingly for Red Bull, he was over a second down on the outright pace.
There was a red flag in the final quarter of the session when Mick Schumacher crashed his Uralkali Haas F1 Team car at the fast turn eleven, with both the front and rear of the left-hand side of the car damaged. He was able to get out of the car under his own power but his participation in Qualifying is now in doubt.
The session resumed with nine minutes remaining and it saw the majority of the field heading onto the track on the softest Pirelli tyre available this weekend, although Verstappen was slightly delayed as his mechanics looked at his rear wing and his Drag Reduction System.
There was a very close call in the pit lane when Antonio Giovinazzi was released into the path of Lance Stroll, with the Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN driver’s front wing clipping the rear wheel of the Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team’s AMR21. The incident will be investigated after the session, but Alfa Romeo might be in line for a financial penalty for it.
Pierre Gasly was also displeased with Giovinazzi in the closing moments of the session when the Frenchman came up on the slow-moving Italian on the racing line at the penultimate turn, ruining his quick lap. It has not been a great weekend to date for Giovinazzi, who ended up eighteenth fastest, ahead only of the Haas cars of Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin.
Carlos Sainz Jr. was the quickest of the two Ferrari drivers in fourth, just ahead of team-mate Charles Leclerc, while Norris showed McLaren have speed this weekend to place sixth, ahead of Pérez and team-mate Daniel Ricciardo.
After showing good pace on Friday, the Alpine F1 Team appeared to fall back a little bit on Saturday morning, with Fernando Alonso down in ninth and Esteban Ocon only twelfth. In between them was Aston Martin’s Stroll and Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda’s Gasly.
The second Aston Martin of Sebastian Vettel had a quiet session in thirteenth, with the German finishing just over two-tenths quicker than AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda, with the Japanese racer happy to be on track after crashing in first practice on Friday and missing most of second practice as a result.
Kimi Räikkönen was fifteenth for Alfa Romeo, just ahead of the two Williams Racing drivers, George Russell and Nicholas Latifi, with just 0.027 seconds splitting the Briton from the Canadian. The field was rounded out by Giovinazzi, Schumacher and Mazepin.
Temperatures at the Hungaroring continued to soar, with the expected cooler conditions failing to materialise. It means drivers were struggling to conserve life in their tyres during their Qualifying simulations, particularly in the final sector, and with even hotter conditions expected later in the day, it could make Qualifying an even more difficult session for the twenty drivers.
Hungaroring Free Practice 3 Result
|1||44||Lewis Hamilton||GBR||Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team||1:16.826||20|
|2||33||Max Verstappen||NED||Red Bull Racing||1:16.914||+0.088||13|
|3||77||Valtteri Bottas||FIN||Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team||1:17.055||+0.229||15|
|4||55||Carlos Sainz Jr.||ESP||Scuderia Ferrari||1:17.497||+0.671||20|
|5||16||Charles Leclerc||MON||Scuderia Ferrari||1:17.520||+0.694||16|
|6||4||Lando Norris||ITA||McLaren F1 Team||1:17.772||+0.946||12|
|7||11||Sergio Pérez||MEX||Red Bull Racing||1:17.917||+1.091||12|
|8||3||Daniel Ricciardo||AUS||McLaren F1 Team||1:17.942||+1.116||15|
|9||14||Fernando Alonso||ESP||Alpine F1 Team||1:17.992||+1.166||15|
|10||18||Lance Stroll||CAN||Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team||1:18.050||+1.224||16|
|11||10||Pierre Gasly||FRA||Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda||1:18.115||+1.289||17|
|12||31||Esteban Ocon||FRA||Alpine F1 Team||1:18.174||+1.348||15|
|13||5||Sebastian Vettel||GER||Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team||1:18.235||+1.409||15|
|14||22||Yuki Tsunoda||JAP||Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda||1:18.461||+1.635||25|
|15||7||Kimi Räikkönen||FIN||Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN||1:18.683||+1.857||21|
|16||63||George Russell||GBR||Williams Racing||1:18.794||+1.968||14|
|17||6||Nicholas Latifi||CAN||Williams Racing||1:18.821||+1.995||15|
|18||99||Antonio Giovinazzi||ITA||Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN||1:19.113||+2.287||14|
|19||47||Mick Schumacher||GER||Uralkali Haas F1 Team||1:19.406||+2.580||15|
|20||9||Nikita Mazepin||RUS||Uralkali Haas F1 Team||1:19.933||+3.107||16|