Formula 1

Verstappen leads Hamilton in final free practice at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

2 Mins read
Credit: Red Bull Content Pool

Max Verstappen finished on top of the time charts at the 2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix in the final free practice session. Lewis Hamilton finished in second position, 0.214 seconds behind Verstappen.

Sergio Pérez was in third position to complete a good practice session for the Red Bull Racing team.

The sixty-minute long final free practice session started at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit with air temperatures at 29 degrees C and track temperatures at 35 degrees C.

The conditions were very similar to the first free practice session. As with all night and twilight races, the first practice sessions of the day take place in conditions not representative of the qualification and race conditions.

In this street circuit, the qualification is very important as it will be hard to overtake even though there are three DRS zones.

Nikita Mazepin was the first driver on the track. The Russian was soon joined on the track by MicK Schumacher and Kimi Räikkönen. The Finn went to the top of the time charts with a lap time of 1m31.378s.

The two Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team drivers went out on the hard compound tyres. Hamilton went to the top of the time charts with a lap time of 1m 29.605s. Bottas slotted into second position behind him.

With forty-five minutes to go, Verstappen finally came out on the soft compound tyres. The Dutchman went third fastest and team-mate Sergio Pérez went to the top of the time charts.

But Hamilton and Bottas were soon back on top of the time charts with Pérez and Lando Norris behind them. Verstappen was in sixth position at this stage.

Hamilton with a lap time of 1m28.314s was almost a full second clear of the field. Pierre Gasly slotted into second position, 0.401 seconds behind Hamilton.

Verstappen put together a good lap to take second position, 0.335 seconds slower than Hamilton. Pérez was in fourth position and the Mexican was having a much better session today.

With thirty minutes to go, the artificial lights were taking effect as the sun was setting. Verstappen with a lap time of 1m28.212s went to the top of the time charts. The Dutchman improved further with a lap time of 1m28.100s.

Hamilton on his first run on the soft compound tyres could not get the tyres in the right temperature window and had to abort the lap. Then the Briton was involved in two incidents when he was going slowly on the track and the drivers had to take evasive action.

Verstappen ended the session on top of the time charts. Hamilton and Bottas struggled to set the fast lap times on the soft compound tyres.

Pérez, Tsunoda and Gasly finished behind Hamilton to complete the top 5 positions at the end of the session. The Honda-engine powered cars had the upper hand at the end of the session.

2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix FP3 Results:

PosNoDriverNat.TeamTimeGapLaps
133Max VerstappenNEDRed Bull Racing1:28.10020
244Lewis HamiltonGBRMercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team1:28.314+0.214s23
311Sergio PerezMEXRed Bull Racing1:28.629+0.529s21
422Yuki TsunodaJAPScuderia AlphaTauri Honda1:28.641+0.541s20
510Pierre GaslyFRAScuderia AlphaTauri Honda1:28.715+0.615s22
677Valtteri BottasFINMercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team1:29.019+0.919s19
716Charles LeclercMONScuderia Ferrari1:29.101+1.001s22
855Carlos SainzESPScuderia Ferrari1:29.149+1.049s19
931Esteban OconFRAAlpine F1 Team1:29.177+1.077s19
104Lando NorrisGBRMcLaren F1 Team1:29.300+1.200s18
1114Fernando AlonsoESPAlpine F1 Team1:29.418+1.318s21
1299Antonio GiovinazziITAAlfa Romeo Racing ORLEN1:29.590+1.490s20
137Kimi RäikkönenFINAlfa Romeo Racing ORLEN1:29.689+1.589s24
143Daniel RicciardoAUSMcLaren F1 Team1:29.717+1.617s19
1518Lance StrollCANAston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team1:30.030+1.930s14
1663George RussellGBRWilliams Racing1:30.034+1.934s17
175Sebastian VettelGERAston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team1:30.296+2.196s15
186Nicholas LatifiCANWilliams Racing1:30.366+2.266s17
1947Mick SchumacherGERUralkali Haas F1 Team1:30.933+2.833s20
209Nikita MazepinRAFUralkali Haas F1 Team1:30.979+2.879s23

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