The Belgian Grand Prix’s final practice session saw something of a return to normal service, with Lewis Hamilton setting the fastest time ahead of this afternoon’s hotly-anticipated qualifying session.

The final minutes of the one-hour session saw everyone out on track trying to perform a qualifying-style run, however several runners found themselves almost tripping over each other in the fight for track position.

Hamilton’s session-topping time, a 1:43.255, came right at the end of the session, and in the final wash he found Renault’s Esteban Ocon and McLaren’s Lando Norris completing the top three behind him, less than 0.4 seconds off his pace.  Ocon was, in particularly, rapid through the first sector of the seven-kilometre lap where straight-line speed is particularly critical.

After his teammate Max Verstappen was fastest overall in FP2, it was the turn of Alexander Albon to lead the Milton Keynes’ team’s charge in final practice.  The Anglo-Thai driver finished fourth-fastest, as he had done in FP2, under half a second off Hamilton’s ultimate pace.

Verstappen was one of the drivers to find traffic in the final minutes on his qualifying-style run and finished an unrepresentative sixth-fastest behind Hamilton’s teammate Valtteri Bottas who was the pacesetter on the earlier Medium tyre runs before a lock-up and slide at La Source on his Soft tyre outing.

Daniel Ricciardo finished seventh-fastest in the second Renault, with the Racing Points of Lance Stroll (P8) and Sergio Pérez (P10) split by the second McLaren of Carlos Sainz Jr. Pérez made a mistake on his qualifying simulation and was also summoned to the stewards after the session for allegedly impeding Romain Grosjean.

Behind the two AlphaTauri Hondas of Pierre Gasly and Daniil Kvyat came Williams’ Nicholas Latifi.  Following the Canadian were the two Haas Ferraris of Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean, who tried to get as much track mileage as possible after minimal practice running on Friday.

Four-time Belgian Grand Prix winner Kimi Räikkönen was P16 for Alfa Romeo and teammate Antonio Giovinazzi P19, putting the Swiss-run squad once again ahead of the factory Ferrari squad which once again struggled.

Defending winner Charles Leclerc was only 17th-fastest, while teammate Sebastian Vettel was slowest of all after several lurid slides during the session.  There is a genuine fear that one or both of the red cars could fail to get out of Q1, marking a remarkable fall from grace given they finished 1-2 in this very session a year before.


FORMULA 1 ROLEX BELGIAN GRAND PRIX 2020 – FREE PRACTICE SESSION 3
Driver Team / Entry Time Gap Laps
1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes-AMG F1 Team W11 1:43.255 9
2. Esteban Ocon Renault F1 Team R.S.20 Renault Logo 2020 1:43.485 + 0.230 9
3. Lando Norris McLaren Logo 2020 McLaren F1 Team MCL35 Renault Logo 2020 1:43.641 + 0.386 12
4. Alexander Albon Red Bull Racing RB16 1:43.731 + 0.476 13
5. Valtteri Bottas Mercedes-AMG F1 Team W11 1:43.813 + 0.558 9
6. Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing RB16 1:43.896 + 0.641 10
7. Daniel Ricciardo Renault F1 Team R.S.20 Renault Logo 2020 1:43.973 + 0.718 8
8. Lance Stroll Racing Point Logo 2020 Racing Point F1 Team RP20 1:43.988 + 0.733 12
9. Carlos Sainz Jr. McLaren Logo 2020 McLaren F1 Team MCL35 Renault Logo 2020 1:44.006 + 0.751 13
10. Sergio Pérez Racing Point Logo 2020 Racing Point F1 Team RP20 1:44.180 + 0.925 12
11. Pierre Gasly Scuderia AlfaTauri Logo 2020 Scuderia AlfaTauri AT01 1:44.508 + 1.253 14
12. Daniil Kvyat Scuderia AlfaTauri Logo 2020 Scuderia AlfaTauri AT01 1:44.543 + 1.288 14
13. Nicholas Latifi Williams Racing Logo 2020 Williams Racing FW43 1:44.771 + 1.516 11
14. Kevin Magnussen Haas F1 Team Logo 2020 Haas F1 Team VF-20 Ferrari Logo 2020 1:44.841 + 1.586 10
15. Romain Grosjean Haas F1 Team Logo 2020 Haas F1 Team VF-20 Ferrari Logo 2020 1:44.844 + 1.589 16
16. Kimi Räikkönen Alfa Romeo Racing Logo 2020 Alfa Romeo Racing C39 Ferrari Logo 2020 1:44.932 + 1.677 11
17. Charles Leclerc Scuderia Ferrari SF1000 Ferrari Logo 2020 1:45.147 + 1.892 12
18. George Russell Williams Racing Logo 2020 Williams Racing FW43 1:45.157 + 1.902 11
19. Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo Racing Logo 2020 Alfa Romeo Racing C39 Ferrari Logo 2020 1:45.190 + 1.935 13
20. Sebastian Vettel Scuderia Ferrari SF1000 Ferrari Logo 2020 1:45.420 + 2.165 12

Image via Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.
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