Verstappen fastest at soggy Spa

Max Verstappen

Max Verstappen has topped a weather affected final practice ahead of Sunday’s Formula 1 Belgian Grand Prix.

The Dutchman headed the field by almost a second from team-mate Sergio Perez, and was so comfortable he climbed from the car well before the 60-minute session ended.

Lewis Hamilton was next best, but a second down on his title rival, in an hour of running that saw him off the road on multiple occasions.

George Russell, Esteban Ocon, and the two Haas drivers headed out shortly after the pit exit opened.

Nikita Mazepin and Mick Schumacher had a set of the extreme wet tyres fitted, despite there being no standing water, the others on the inters.

It was a case of tyre preservation with a view to qualifying, teams having a limited bank of grooved rubber for the balance of the weekend.

Conditions were slippery, Russell skating long at the Bus Stop Chicane as he approached it for the first time.

Carlos Sainz also had a moment, his at Les Combes, a corner which also caught out Sebastian Vettel and Valtteri Bottas soon after.

Moments later, Lewis Hamilton left the road at the same place as his team-mate, a braking zone that would prove something of a hot spot for action throughout the session.

The difficult conditions were reflected on the timesheets, Pierre Gasly fastest with a 2:01.385s after 10 minutes.

That time fell as a partially dry line began to form in parts of the circuit, Hamilton lowering the marker to 1:57.996s.

As conditions continued to gradually improve so too did the lap times, Max Verstappen setting a 1:56.924s to go fastest.

Kimi Raikkonen’s session was interrupted when he suffered brake failure.

The Alfa Romeo driver able to return to the garage where it spent the balance of the hour.

With conditions stabilising and little more to be gained, Verstappen climbed from his car with more than 10 minutes remaining.

The track remained slippery, with Hamilton and Fernando Alonso both skating off at Les Combes but able to carry on.

Gasly had a pirouette at Paul Frere to trigger a brief double-yellow period, dropping the rear of the car as he accelerated on the painted exit kerb.

He kept the AlphaTauri out of the guardrail and was able to continue.

Charles Leclerc’s session came to an early end after he reported something loose in the cockpit of his Ferrari.

The Monegasque driver was in a new chassis versus that he’d driven on Friday after finding the wall at Les Combes in Free Practice 2.

In the final moments of the session, Lando Norris headed out on a set of soft compound tyres.

It proved to be far too wet, the Brit nearly losing control out of the pit lane and he immediately returning to the garage – 1:56 proving to be some way from the crossover point to dry weather tyres.

The session therefore ended with Verstappen fastest from Sergio Perez, Hamilton, and Norris.

Raikkonen completed just three laps as he found himself at the foot of the timings, while Daniel Ricciardo was 13th, the first driver not to dip below the two-minute barrier.

Qualifying follows at 23:00 AEST this evening.

Results: Formula 1 Belgian Grand Prix, Free Practice 3

Pos Num Driver Team Time Diff Laps
1 33 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing 1:56.924 10
2 11 Sergio Perez Red Bull Racing 1:57.871 +0.947s 7
3 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:57.996 +1.072s 9
4 4 Lando Norris McLaren 1:58.509 +1.585s 11
5 31 Esteban Ocon Alpine 1:58.913 +1.989s 15
6 18 Lance Stroll Aston Martin 1:59.205 +2.281s 16
7 10 Pierre Gasly Scuderia AlphaTauri 1:59.324 +2.400s 14
8 5 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin 1:59.436 +2.512s 15
9 63 George Russell Williams 1:59.492 +2.568s 9
10 14 Fernando Alonso Alpine 1:59.613 +2.689s 16
11 77 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:59.808 +2.884s 14
12 6 Nicholas Latifi Williams 1:59.981 +3.057s 11
13 3 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren 2:00.456 +3.532s 13
14 55 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 2:00.749 +3.825s 17
15 47 Mick Schumacher Haas 2:01.269 +4.345s 18
16 16 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 2:01.370 +4.446s 14
17 22 Yuki Tsunoda Scuderia AlphaTauri 2:01.510 +4.586s 20
18 99 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo 2:01.512 +4.588s 20
19 9 Nikita Mazepin Haas 2:01.792 +4.868s 19
20 7 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo 2:04.382 +7.458s 3

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