Lewis Hamilton was the fastest …

Lewis Hamilton set the fastest time in the third free practice session, leaving Max Verstappen in second place. Alonso was 8th and Sainz 13th

June 26, 2021 (13:10 CET)

Lewis Hamilton was the fastest driver in FP3

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The best time set by Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) was 1’04 ”369, while Max Verstappen (Red Bull), despite dominating the two free sessions on Friday, had to settle for second position, 2 tenths behind Hamilton. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) qualified third at 4 tenths, followed by Checo Pérez (Red Bull). The two Mercedes and the two Red Bulls intermingled.

After these two teams, the two Alpha Tauri drivers: Yuki Tsunoda and Pierre Gasly, ahead of Charles Leclerc (Ferrari and Fernando Alonso (Alpine), eighth. Further behind was Carlos Sainz (Ferrari), in 13th position.

In FP3 the sun shone, it seems that finally the rain is expected for tomorrow, Sunday, although today a storm may fall later. The temperature was 21 degrees ambient and 46 on the asphalt.

The differences between the three tire compounds was small: from soft to medium: half a second, and from medium to hard: 8 tenths.

At the beginning of the session, there was very little action on track. The two Alpine riders, Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon, did it after the first 10 minutes on the medium tire. Carlos Sainz was out riding 18 minutes, and he was also wearing the medium tires on his Ferrari, he was the most chosen compound in the early stages of FP3, while Hamilton and Bottas rode the softs. Max Verstappen was the last to go out on the road, he did it with 36 minutes to go and with soft tires, as he knew that the track was improving as time passed.

Bottas was the first to set the best time (1’06 ”212), although still far from the times set yesterday during FP1, in which Verstappen was the first (1’05” 910). And it was then when the Red Bull one was placed first of the classification (1’05 ”571). The most surprising thing was that Yuki Tsunoda (Alpha Tauri), with the medium tires, placed second just 2 tenths of Verstappen. Soon his teammate Pierre Gasly, who started the MGU-K after he did not compete in FP2 due to engine problems, snatched the time and placed second, although he was wearing the soft Pirellis.

On his sixth lap on red tires and halfway through the session, Max Verstappen was the first driver to go down at 1 minute and 14 seconds (1’14 ”971). Behind the Red Bull rider, Hamilton, Gasly and Bottas, all three also on soft tires. However, from that place to eleventh, which was Fernando Alonso, they rode the averages: Pérez, Tsunoda, Leclerc, Sainz -8º at 1.2 seconds, Vettel, Russell, Alonso -11º at 1.3 seconds.

During the last 20 minutes the pilots mounted the soft compound, preparing for qualifying. It was then that Hamilton lowered the timer to 1’04 ”369, with teammate Bottas 4 tenths away. Verstappen, who was third behind the two Mercedes, was still quiet in his garage, waiting for the best time to go out and see what he could do with a new set of softs. And finally it came 9 minutes to the end of FP3. He had Gasly, Leclerc, Pérez, Alonso … behind him. Verstappen was second, 2 tenths behind Hamilton and could no longer improve.

Thus, Hamilton had the best time on Saturday morning in free practice, followed by Verstappen, Bottas, Pérez, Tsunoda, Gasly, Leclerc, Alonso 8th and Sainz 13th.

Qualification will start at 3pm (CET).

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