FP3: Perez leads Verstappen and Sainz in final Belgian GP practice – Formula 1

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Red Bull’s Sergio Perez set a very late flying lap to finish first in final practice over teammate Max Verstappen, while Carlos Sainz was more than seven tenths off the pace for Ferrari in P3.

Spa was shrouded in cloud but largely unaffected by rain on Saturday morning, with plenty of drama in the lead-up to FP3. That included grid penalties for many drivers including FP2 and FP3 leader Verstappen, plus Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and McLaren’s Lando Norris – as intrigue continued to bubble over the futures of Oscar Piastri and Daniel Ricciardo.

READ MORE: Szafnauer ‘very confident’ that Piastri contract ruling will fall on Alpine’s side

Perez’s checkered flag lap of 1m 45.047s beat penalized team-mate Verstappen to P2 by 0.137s, and Sainz down to third by 0.777s.

That left McLaren’s Lando Norris fourth, Fernando Alonso putting in a very late flyer to go P5 for Alpine and just a tenth behind his McLaren rival.

George Russell was next on the board for Mercedes while Charles Leclerc hit the barriers and caused a very short red flag while spinning through the gravel at Turn 12. The Monegasque driver finished sixth overall in FP3 but said, after recovering his car from the gravel: ” I don’t think the car has any damage”.

1


Sergio
Perez
by
Red Bull Racing

1:45.047

2


Max
Verstappen
VER
Red Bull Racing

+0.137s

3


Carlos
Sainz
SAI
Ferrari

+0.777s

4


country
Norris
NOR
McLaren

+0.918s

5


Fernando
Alonso
ALO
Alpine

+1.014 s

Post-checkered flag runs saw Sebastian Vettel and Esteban Ocon jump to eighth and ninth respectively, the former reporting possible engine trouble in his Aston Martin.

Pierre Gasly therefore rounded out the top 10, taking the lead at Blanchimont.

READ MORE: 5 things we learned from Friday practice at the Belgian Grand Prix

Outgoing McLaren racer Daniel Ricciardo was 11th ahead of Lewis Hamilton, who appeared to be pulling back from a late flying effort, while Nicholas Latifi and Alex Albon finished 13th and 14th respectively for Williams.

Valtteri Bottas in P15 will join the other drivers at the back of the grid on Sunday, with the Alfa Romeo driver finishing tenth ahead of 16th-placed Aston Martin driver Lance Stroll and 17th-placed Haas racer Kevin Magnussen.

FP3 Highlights: Belgian Grand Prix

Yuki Tsunoda was just behind Magnussen, the Japanese driver in P18 for AlphaTauri, while Zhou Guanyu finished 19th for Alfa Romeo as he faces a rear-end penalty.

Mick Schumacher completed just six laps thanks to a sensor problem, and also has grid penalties to contend with after finishing P20 in final practice for Haas.

Light rain sprinkled the track at the end of final practice, and it’s Perez who seems to hold the cards having set the fastest time – without any grid penalties to his name so far.

READ MORE: Horner, Perez and Vettel back Ricciardo to ‘find his mojo’ after McLaren split

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