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||1:43.485||+ 0.230||9|
|3.||Lando Norris||McLaren F1 Team MCL35||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||1:43.973||+ 0.718||8|
|8.||Lance Stroll||Racing Point F1 Team RP20||1:43.988||+ 0.733||12|
|9.||Carlos Sainz Jr.||McLaren F1 Team MCL35||1:44.006||+ 0.751||13|
|10.||Sergio Pérez||Racing Point F1 Team RP20||1:44.180||+ 0.925||12|
|11.||Pierre Gasly||Scuderia AlfaTauri AT01||1:44.508||+ 1.253||14|
|12.||Daniil Kvyat||Scuderia AlfaTauri AT01||1:44.543||+ 1.288||14|
|13.||Nicholas Latifi||Williams Racing FW43||1:44.771||+ 1.516||11|
|14.||Kevin Magnussen||Haas F1 Team VF-20||1:44.841||+ 1.586||10|
|15.||Romain Grosjean||Haas F1 Team VF-20||1:44.844||+ 1.589||16|
|16.||Kimi Räikkönen||Alfa Romeo Racing C39||1:44.932||+ 1.677||11|
|17.||Charles Leclerc||Scuderia Ferrari SF1000||1:45.147||+ 1.892||12|
|18.||George Russell||Williams Racing FW43||1:45.157||+ 1.902||11|
|19.||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo Racing C39||1:45.190||+ 1.935||13|
|20.||Sebastian Vettel||Scuderia Ferrari SF1000||1:45.420||+ 2.165||12|
Image via Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team
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