REPORT: Max Verstappen fastest in tight battle during FP3 session

04-12-2021 15:06
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REPORT: Max Verstappen fastest in tight battle during FP3 session

Max Verstappen was the victor in a tight and changing battle in FP3. The Dutchman's lap time of 1:28.100 was enough to claim the top spot ahead of his title rival Lewis Hamilton, but the two continously flicked between first and second throughout the hour long session. Sergio Perez claimed the third fastest spot.

Red Bull and Mercedes look strong

It was a session of domination for Red Bull and, their sister team, AlphaTauri as they claimed four of the top five spots in FP3. The final top-five spot was claimed by Hamilton, as the seven-time World Champion finished behind only Verstappen on top. Perez was close to the Mercedes driver but was unable to find enough pace on his final lap to move ahead of the Brit.

The AlphaTauri duo of Yuki Tsunoda and Pierre Gasly were on fire in FP3, finishing in fourth and fifth respectively. Valtteri Bottas was only able to best a sixth-place finish.

Ferrari are the midfield standouts

It was once again another strong session for Ferrari as both Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz found themselves in the top 10 for the majority of the session. At the end of the hour session, the Monegasque driver was ahead of his Spanish teammate as they finished in seventh and eighth, only one second off the pace.

As for the Prancing Horse's rivals McLaren, it was an extremely quiet day for both Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo. The young Brit found himself in the top three at one point in the session but was unable to take advantage of the developing track speed and ended up finishing tenth. On the other hand, Ricciardo never managed to get going and finished the session in 14th.

Alpine were able to find some pace towards the end of the session with Esteban Ocon breaching the top 10, finishing in ninth, and Fernando Alonso claiming the 11th spot. The Alfa Romeo duo of Antonio Giovinazzi and Kimi Raikkonen finished in 12th and 13th.

Not much coming from the bottom

It was a very quiet session for all six drivers from Williams, Haas and Aston Martin. Nikita Mazepin and Mick Schumacher both finished 2.8 seconds off the pace set by Verstappen, with Sebastian Vettel and Nicholas Latifi also finishing over two seconds off the top time. George Russell and Lance Stroll weren't much better compared to their backmarkers as they finished 1.9 seconds off the pace.

However, there were two occasions where Nikita Mazepin and Lance Stroll were involved in drama. The Russian rookie almost collided with a slow-rolling Hamilton midway through the session and the Canadian had an unknown puncture.

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