Formula 1

2024 Spanish Grand Prix: Home Hero Sainz Leads the Way in Final Practice

3 Mins read
Photo: Scuderia Ferrari Press Office

Carlos Sainz Jr. topped the third and final hour of practice ahead of qualifying later today for Round 10 and the 2024 FIA Formula 1 World Championship Spanish Grand Prix.

Lando Norris topped the first session on Friday morning, with Lewis Hamilton then showing that Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team have pace during the second session, topping the times ahead of Sainz.

The session started slowly and after 15 minutes, there were just 9 times on the board. George Russell was leading the way with both Scuderia Ferrari’s behind him and in front of Hamilton in fourth. Max Verstappen and Sergio Pérez followed behind in fifth and sixth, quite a way off the pace at that point.

Attentions were turned from race runs to qualifying simulations during the second half of the session. Sainz delighted the home crowd during his lap, going top of the timesheets. Norris was +0.030s behind Sainz’s time of 1:13.013s, while Charles Leclerc was just +0.007s behind Norris in third.

Verstappen wasn’t too far behind, finishing just +0.074s, which was only good enough for fifth. The Dutchman seemed much more comfortable than he did yesterday, but they’ll certainly still be a fight for pole position later on today, if the trends over the past hour continue into this afternoon.

Russell was +0.151s down on Sainz’s time, and finished fifth while Hamilton ended the session down in sixth, over three tenths back from the leading Scuderia Ferrari. Pérez was seventh tenths down and finished in seventh, while there was a marked improvement for Williams Racing with Alex Albon in eighth.

Photo: Scuderia Ferrari Press Office

Fernando Alonso and Oscar Piastri rounded out the top ten. Esteban Ocon was the lead BWT Alpine F1 Team driver with Pierre Gasly one place behind his teammate in twelfth. Nico Hulkenberg, Valtteri Bottas and Kevin Magnussen finished thirteenth, fourteenth and fifteenth respectively, while there was some head scratching at the Visa Cash App RB garage. Despite new upgrades, Daniel Ricciardo was sixteenth and Yuki Tsunoda was even further down in eighteenth. It is worth noting that their new rear wing upgrade won’t be used this weekend after an issue with DRS in Free Practice One yesterday. The Italian team will be hoping for better performance going into qualifying but if you take what’s been shown in Free Practice as evidence then things are looking bleak for Laurent Mekies and his team.

Lance Stroll was sandwiched between the two RB’s in seventeenth, while Zhou Guanyu and Logan Sargeant were the bottom two.

It was a clean session throughout until the end of the session, which saw multiple incidents of impeding with drivers getting frustrated with each other. Stroll was on a push lap and Hamilton got in the way of the Canadian, causing him to give the Briton a needless nudge on the sidepod – both drivers have been called to the stewards.

It was then the turn of Norris and Leclerc to get into an incident – the Ferrari driver wasn’t happy at all and turned into Norris. Then it was the turn of Sainz to get impeded by Verstappen and Norris, but the Spaniard kept his cool and didn’t make contact with either.

It’ll be all to play for in qualifying, with plenty of challengers for pole position but will potential penalties for the likes of Leclerc make the difference? Be sure to keep up to date with everything F1 here on TheCheckeredFlag.

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155Carlos SainzFERRARI1:13.01319
24Lando NorrisMCLAREN MERCEDES1:13.043+0.030s14
316Charles LeclercFERRARI1:13.050+0.037s18
41Max VerstappenRED BULL RACING HONDA RBPT1:13.087+0.074s24
563George RussellMERCEDES1:13.164+0.151s20
644Lewis HamiltonMERCEDES1:13.359+0.346s26
711Sergio PerezRED BULL RACING HONDA RBPT1:13.723+0.710s19
823Alexander AlbonWILLIAMS MERCEDES1:13.753+0.740s14
914Fernando AlonsoASTON MARTIN ARAMCO MERCEDES1:13.786+0.773s21
1081Oscar PiastriMCLAREN MERCEDES1:13.907+0.894s14
1131Esteban OconALPINE RENAULT1:13.950+0.937s18
1210Pierre GaslyALPINE RENAULT1:13.964+0.951s14
1327Nico HulkenbergHAAS FERRARI1:13.975+0.962s20
1477Valtteri BottasKICK SAUBER FERRARI1:14.024+1.011s19
1520Kevin MagnussenHAAS FERRARI1:14.074+1.061s27
163Daniel RicciardoRB HONDA RBPT1:14.161+1.148s17
1718Lance StrollASTON MARTIN ARAMCO MERCEDES1:14.254+1.241s16
1822Yuki TsunodaRB HONDA RBPT1:14.420+1.407s22
1924Zhou GuanyuKICK SAUBER FERRARI1:14.572+1.559s17
202Logan SargeantWILLIAMS MERCEDES1:14.729+1.716s12
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