The Mercedes-AMG completed a practice clean sweep at this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix, with Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas once again comfortably clear of the rest of the field. The third and final practice session was brought to an early end by a heavy crash at the exit of Turn 3.
Very hot track temperatures placed a major strain on tyres ahead of this afternoon’s qualifying session, to the point that lap times were slower than yesterday’s FP2 session.
Hamilton moved to the top of the timesheets with ten minutes left on the clock, clocking a lap time of 1:17.222 which would have been quicker were it not for a moment of oversteer at the final corner. The defending champion was under two-tenths of a second quicker than teammate Valtteri Bottas.
Once again, Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen was the only driver capable of keeping either Mercedes driver honest this weekend. The Dutchman was third-fastest, as he has been all weekend, with his best lap just over half a second adrift.
Carlos Sainz Jr. finished the session a potentially promising fourth-fastest at his home event. The Spaniard was equipped with a new McLaren chassis in a failed bid to address repeated cooling issues, and now had a new Renault power unit fitted to his car before the start of the session.
Sergio Pérez finished fifth fastest in his comeback event, lapping his Racing Point Mercedes just five-hundredths of a second off Sainz and just over one-tenth quicker than Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc.
Pierre Gasly was the final driver to get within one second of Hamilton’s best time; the AlphaTauri Honda driver was marginally quicker than the second Racing Point of Lance Stroll.
Alexander Albon was ninth-fastest, but continued his persistent trend of being around half a second slower than teammate Verstappen, while Daniel Ricciardo completed the top ten in his Renault.
Ricciardo’s teammate Esteban Ocon provided the major drama in the closing minutes of the session, triggering a red flag when he crashed into the wall between Turns 3 and 4. Replays showed the Frenchman spinning in avoidance trying to dodge a slow Kevin Magnussen. The front-on impact with the wall caused damage to his Renault and will leave his mechanics with plenty of work to do ahead of qualifying.
|FORMULA 1 ARAMCO GRAN PREMIO DE ESPAÑA 2020 – FREE PRACTICE SESSION 3|
|Driver||Team / Entry||Time||Gap||Laps|
|1.||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes-AMG F1 Team W11||1:17.222||12|
|2.||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes-AMG F1 Team W11||1:17.373||+ 0.151||13|
|3.||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing RB16||1:17.737||+ 0.515||10|
|4.||Carlos Sainz Jr.||McLaren F1 Team MCL35||1:18.046||+ 0.824||18|
|5.||Sergio Pérez||Racing Point F1 Team RP20||1:18.096||+ 0.874||16|
|6.||Charles Leclerc||Scuderia Ferrari SF1000||1:18.193||+ 0.971||15|
|7.||Pierre Gasly||Scuderia AlfaTauri AT01||1:18.211||+ 0.989||13|
|8.||Lance Stroll||Racing Point F1 Team RP20||1:18.309||+ 1.087||16|
|9.||Alexander Albon||Red Bull Racing RB16||1:18.371||+ 1.149||13|
|10.||Daniel Ricciardo||Renault F1 Team R.S.20||1:18.384||+ 1.162||12|
|11.||Esteban Ocon||Renault F1 Team R.S.20||1:18.602||+ 1.380||18|
|12.||Sebastian Vettel||Scuderia Ferrari SF1000||1:18.707||+ 1.485||15|
|13.||Romain Grosjean||Haas F1 Team VF-20||1:18.710||+ 1.488||14|
|14.||Kimi Räikkönen||Alfa Romeo Racing C39||1:18.721||+ 1.499||11|
|15.||Lando Norris||McLaren F1 Team MCL35||1:18.803||+ 1.581||23|
|16.||Daniil Kvyat||Scuderia AlfaTauri AT01||1:18.852||+ 1.630||15|
|17.||Kevin Magnussen||Haas F1 Team VF-20||1:18.940||+ 1.718||15|
|18.||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo Racing C39||1:19.175||+ 1.953||13|
|19.||George Russell||Williams Racing FW43||1:19.297||+ 2.075||16|
|20.||Nicholas Latifi||Williams Racing FW43||1:19.764||+ 2.542||16|
Image via Formula1.com
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