Verstappen dominates final F1 practice in Silverstone

Max Verstappen

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen has dominated the final practice session for the Formula 1 British Grand Prix.

The Dutchman was fastest by more than 0.4s over team-mate Sergio Perez in a session that suggested Mercedes is in play come the race.

While Verstappen was comfortably clear of the pack, there was little between Perez and Charles Leclerc in third, while George Russell was less than 0.1s further back.

Indeed, the top three teams, Red Bull, Ferrari, and Mercedes, were seemingly within touching distance of one another, and well clear of the chasing pack headed by Lando Norris.

Conditions were dry but cool as the session began, the track some 10 degrees cooler than it had been on Friday.

Traditionally, Free Practice 3 witnesses something of a slow start, but with the lack of running in opening practice yesterday, a number took the opportunity afforded to them.

The medium and soft tyres were the preferred rubber, though some headed out on the hards, it was to do nothing more than circle around for an installation lap.

McLaren emerged fastest in the opening 10 minutes, Norris quickest on a 1:31.939s over Daniel Ricciardo on a 1:33.058s.

Their time at the top was brief as both Leclerc and Carlos Sainz both went faster, the former lowering the outright pace to a 1:29.452s.

A notable difference was McLaren had fitted the medium tyres, while the Ferrari duo had the softs.

After a difficult Friday in which he struggled to find a good balance with his car, Perez went third fastest, 0.177s down on the outright pace.

Encouragingly for Mercedes, Lewis Hamilton went third fastest with a 1:29.775s, quickly bettered, but only just, by George Russell with a 1:29.757s.

Verstappen waited until 20 minutes had elapsed before setting his first flying lap, logging a 1:28.541s, giving him a comfortable 0.4s advantage.

Mercedes’ apparent pace was further underscored when Hamilton moved up to second fastest with a 1:29.697s.

That left him just over 0.1s down on Verstappen, until the Dutchman improved.

Importantly, Mercedes didn’t appear to be suffering from the bouncing that has plagued it throughout 2022, a point noted by Russell over the radio.

There was a sizeable gap between the leading six runners and Fernando Alonso in seventh, with more than 0.5s separating the Alpine driver from Perez ahead.

Alonso and team-mate Esteban Ocon were in something of a no-mans land after their qualifying simulations – some way off the top six, but 0.5s clear of Valtteri Bottas in ninth.

However, not all had shown their one lap pace, with neither McLaren driver having yet completed a soft tyre run.

Verstappen moved the pace on to a 1:27.901s with just over 15 minutes remaining, a time which inched him out to 0.487s clear of Leclerc, who’d managed a 1:28.388s moments earlier.

On his qualifying simulation, Norris recorded the seventh best time, a 1:29.102s, a time for which Ricciardo seemingly had no answer, the Australian managing just a 1:30.293s.

Perez was clearly happier with his Red Bull, slotting in second fastest with a 1:28.311s.

The session ended without significant change to the order, Verstappen fastest from team-mate Perez.

Leclerc was third best, then came the two Mercedes, Russell ahead of Hamilton, with Sainz rounding out the top six.

Qualifying is up next with cars returning to the track at midnight AEST.

Results: Formula 1 British Grand Prix, Free Practice 3

Pos Num Driver Team Laps Time Diff
1 1 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing 17 1:27.901
2 11 Sergio Perez Red Bull Racing 20 1:28.311 +0.410s
3 16 Charles Leclerc Scuderia Ferrari 20 1:28.348 +0.447s
4 63 George Russell Mercedes-AMG F1 Team 20 1:28.426 +0.525s
5 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes-AMG F1 Team 24 1:28.488 +0.587s
6 55 Carlos Sainz Scuderia Ferrari 21 1:28.689 +0.788s
7 4 Lando Norris McLaren F1 Team 19 1:29.102 +1.201s
8 77 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo F1 Team 19 1:29.185 +1.284s
9 47 Mick Schumacher Haas F1 Team 20 1:29.510 +1.609s
10 14 Fernando Alonso Alpine F1 Team 19 1:29.520 +1.619s
11 31 Esteban Ocon Alpine F1 Team 23 1:29.552 +1.651s
12 5 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin F1 Team 24 1:29.593 +1.692s
13 24 Zhou Guanyu Alfa Romeo F1 Team 16 1:29.752 +1.851s
14 23 Alex Albon Williams Racing 21 1:29.780 +1.879s
15 10 Pierre Gasly Scuderia AlphaTauri 22 1:29.885 +1.984s
16 18 Lance Stroll Aston Martin F1 Team 25 1:29.892 +1.991s
17 22 Yuki Tsunoda Scuderia AlphaTauri 21 1:30.039 +2.138s
18 3 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren F1 Team 20 1:30.293 +2.392s
19 6 Nicholas Latifi Williams Racing 15 1:30.489 +2.588s
20 20 Kevin Magnussen Haas F1 Team 18 1:30.523 +2.622s

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