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:
|1||33||Max Verstappen||NED||Red Bull Racing||1:28.100||20|
|2||44||Lewis Hamilton||GBR||Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team||1:28.314||+0.214s||23|
|3||11||Sergio Perez||MEX||Red Bull Racing||1:28.629||+0.529s||21|
|4||22||Yuki Tsunoda||JAP||Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda||1:28.641||+0.541s||20|
|5||10||Pierre Gasly||FRA||Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda||1:28.715||+0.615s||22|
|6||77||Valtteri Bottas||FIN||Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team||1:29.019||+0.919s||19|
|7||16||Charles Leclerc||MON||Scuderia Ferrari||1:29.101||+1.001s||22|
|8||55||Carlos Sainz||ESP||Scuderia Ferrari||1:29.149||+1.049s||19|
|9||31||Esteban Ocon||FRA||Alpine F1 Team||1:29.177||+1.077s||19|
|10||4||Lando Norris||GBR||McLaren F1 Team||1:29.300||+1.200s||18|
|11||14||Fernando Alonso||ESP||Alpine F1 Team||1:29.418||+1.318s||21|
|12||99||Antonio Giovinazzi||ITA||Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN||1:29.590||+1.490s||20|
|13||7||Kimi Räikkönen||FIN||Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN||1:29.689||+1.589s||24|
|14||3||Daniel Ricciardo||AUS||McLaren F1 Team||1:29.717||+1.617s||19|
|15||18||Lance Stroll||CAN||Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team||1:30.030||+1.930s||14|
|16||63||George Russell||GBR||Williams Racing||1:30.034||+1.934s||17|
|17||5||Sebastian Vettel||GER||Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team||1:30.296||+2.196s||15|
|18||6||Nicholas Latifi||CAN||Williams Racing||1:30.366||+2.266s||17|
|19||47||Mick Schumacher||GER||Uralkali Haas F1 Team||1:30.933||+2.833s||20|
|20||9||Nikita Mazepin||RAF||Uralkali Haas F1 Team||1:30.979||+2.879s||23|