Top four drivers finish within one-tenth of each other during FP3

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Carlos Sainz finishes FP3 fastest in Spain

Carlos Sainz finished fastest in the third and final free practice session, proving Ferrari have made a significant step forward overnight. But pole position remains well in the balance as the top four drivers finished within one-tenth. Lando Norris finished second but set his time on older tyres. Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen filled the next two places with Mercedes on the edge of the front runners.

How FP3 happened in Spain

McLaren had a scary start to Saturday morning. A fire broke out in their hospitality unit. The team said: "This morning we evacuated our Team Hub paddock hospitality unit following a fire alert, the team has been safely evacuated while the local fire brigade handled the issue." Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri weren't delayed in coming out on the track.

Hamilton and Verstappen were two of the few early runners in the opening 10 minutes. As usual, Aston Martin did their usual single-lap tyre scrubbing, ready for Sunday's Spanish Grand Prix. Lance Stroll reported some slight knee pain and wanted a knee pad for the second run. George Russell mentioned some knee trouble as well. 

Charles Leclerc described the car as horrendous on Friday but was very quick to praise his Ferrari team on Saturday. The man from Monaco was pleased with the changes they had made overnight and described it as a good step forward. After the first 30 minutes, both Ferrari drivers were within two-tenths of the fastest time. With 20 minutes left, both McLaren drivers pulled out of their first laps on new soft tyres so their top times remain hidden going into qualifying. 

Norris attacked the lap second time around and went fastest when he crossed the line. Mercedes were next on the soft tyres. Hamilton went purple in sector two but was fighting the steering wheel in the final sector. He ended up three-tenths behind Norris. On the cool-down lap, Hamilton got in the way of Lance Stroll. As the Brit apologised, the two bumped into each other. The stewards will investigate this after the session.

Russell improved on Hamilton's time but didn't beat Norris. Ferrari and Red Bull got much closer than Norris' benchmark. Sainz went slightly quicker. There will be more concerns for Perez, who only managed to get the seventh-fastest time. He has a three-place grid penalty to take on Sunday due to the incident in Canada. Lando Norris and Charles Leclerc ended up touching right at the end of the session. The Ferrari driver got way too close to Norris, who pulled out of the way.