Max Verstappen led the free practice 3 of the Belgian Formula 1 GP. On the rainy morning of this Saturday (28) at Spa-Francorchamps, the vice-leader of the Drivers’ World Championship spiked 1min56s924 on his fastest lap and led the Red Bull double , who placed Sergio Pérez in second, but with a time 0s947 slower compared to the Dutch. Lewis Hamilton completed the top-3.
It was a wet track session from start to finish, in a scenario similar to what the riders will have to deal with later in the qualifying session at Spa.
Lando Norris was fourth with McLaren, followed by Esteban Ocon, the latest Formula 1 winner, with Alpine. Lance Stroll was sixth with Aston Martin, ahead of Pierre Gasly’s AlphaTauri. Sebastian Vettel was eighth fastest on the timesheet, while George Russell placed Williams ninth. Fernando Alonso, Ocon’s teammate, closed the list of the fastest ten.
+ANALYSIS: Verstappen leads day, but order of forces is inconclusive in mixed conditions Spa
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With the track still quite wet due to the rains that hit Spa-Francorchamps since the early hours of Saturday, Formula 1 accelerated to the free practice 3 of the Belgian GP with the drivers mostly accelerating on intermediate tyres, although the Haas duo has opted for extreme rain compounds for the opening minutes of the session.
The rain stopped in the first minutes of training, but the cold and high humidity prevented the asphalt from drying out more quickly. At that moment, Valtteri Bottas escaped at the exit of the Bus Stop curve, while Lewis Hamilton complained of problems with the brakes on his Mercedes. Another who complained of brake problems was Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Räikkönen.
After a first moment in which George Russell and Nicholas Latifi made 1-2 for Williams, Lewis Hamilton took the lead in the session by scoring 1min57s996 on intermediate tyres. Lando Norris, with McLaren, appeared in second, while Pierre Gasly came in third with AlphaTauri, just ahead of Alpine de Alonso, which was again shown by the Driver’s Eye camera, a first for F1 for the weekend in Belgium.
In the sequence of the session, with the track showing itself increasingly dry, the times were improving. Sergio Pérez, on a contract renewed with Red Bull until 2022, moved up to second, 0.087 off Hamilton’s time. Max Verstappen then surpassed the seven-times champion’s mark in 1.072 to take the lead in the timesheets. ‘Czech’ also improved his time and left Hamilton behind, but was 0s947 from the lap recorded by his teammate.
The track was in the process of drying out, but the weather indicated more rain for the training sequence, something that would make the progressive improvement in times impossible. Of the 20 riders on the grid, only Esteban Ocon, winner of the Hungarian GP, had not yet registered a timed lap this morning. Among the top five, the presence of Lance Stroll, fifth with Aston Martin, drew attention.
When he finally managed to complete his fast lap, Ocon took the fifth position when he defeated Stroll. The Frenchman had his best time 1.989 slower compared to Verstappen’s mark. That’s when the predicted rain returned to Spa-Francorchamps. Thereafter, any improvement in the timesheets was impossible.
In the final minutes, Lando Norris took a risk when the track was drying out again and asked McLaren to put on slick tyres. But the asphalt was still quite treacherous and prevented any improvement in times, which determined Max’s stay as leader of free training 3 in Belgium.
Formula 1 2021, Belgian GP, Spa-Francorchamps, free practice 3:
|1||M VERSTAPPEN||Red Bull Honda||1:56,924||10|
|two||S PEREZ||Red Bull Honda||1:57,871||+0.947||7|
|5||AND OCON||Alpine Renault||1:58,913||+1,989||15|
|6||L STROLL||Aston Martin Mercedes||1:59,205||+2,281||16|
|7||P GASLY||AlphaTauri Honda||1:59,324||+2,400||14|
|8||S VETTEL||Aston Martin Mercedes||1:59,436||+2,512||15|
|9||G RUSSELL||Williams Mercedes||1:59,492||+2,568||9|
|10||F ALONSO||Alpine Renault||1:59,613||+2,689||16|
|12||NO LATIFI||Williams Mercedes||1:59,981||+3,057||11|
|13||D RICCIARDO||McLaren Mercedes||2:00,456||+3,532||13|
|15||M SCHUMACHER||Haas Ferrari||2:01,269||+4,345||18|
|17||Y TSUNODA||AlphaTauri Honda||2:01.510||+4,586||20|
|18||THE GIOVINAZZI||Alfa Romeo Ferrari||2:01.512||+4,588||20|
|19||N MAZEPIN||Haas Ferrari||2:01,792||+4,868||19|
|20||K RÄIKKÖNEN||Alfa Romeo Ferrari||2:04,382||+7,458||3|