Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen beat Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas by more than half a second to comfortably top the timesheet in the final practice session for the Dutch Grand Prix. Title leader Lewis Hamilton could only manage third, almost eight tenths of a second behind Verstappen.
At the start of the one-hour session one of the first cars on track was the Alfa Romeo of Robert Kubica. The Polish driver was handed a race seat for the remainder of the weekend after Kimi Räikkönen tested positive for COVID-19.
As Kubica cautiously gained familiarity with the circuit, eventually finishing in P19, Hamilton set the early benchmark with a lap of 1:12.010.
As the quarter-hour mark approached the bar was reset by Alpine’s Fernando Alonso who lapped in 1:11.996 on medium tyres. Hamilton extende3d his run however and he was soon back on top, though by the small margin of 0.032.
Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc then took over at the top with a lap of 1:11.768 but Alonso also found more pace and he jumped back to P1 with a lap of 1:11.705.
However, soon after Alonso had reclaimed P1 the session was halted when Leclerc’s team-mate Carlos Sainz lost control of his Ferrari in Turn 2. The Spaniard spun and slapped the barriers on the outside of the banked Turn 3, damaging the left front and left rear of his car.
After a delay or more than 10 minutes the green flags were shown and Verstappen took to the track for the first time.
He immediately took P1 with a medium-tyre lap of 1:11.225. Bottas was on track just behind he then went 0.008s quicker, but used soft tyres to set the time.
Verstappen went for a second attempt and this time he sealed P1 with tour of 1:10.702. McLaren’s Lando Norris moved to second before Alonso again rose to the top of the timesheet on soft tyres thanks to a lap of 1:10.670s flying lap.
Bottas then emerged on more softs to steal P1 with a lap of 1:10.179s with Hamilton slotting into P3, 0.238s behind his team-mate.
Verstappen wasn’t finished, however, and when he headed out for a final run on softs he set purple times in all three sectors to take P1 with a lap of 1:09.623. His table-topping time was aided by a perfectly timed tow through the final two corners provided by team-mate Sergio Pérez. The lap put Verstappen 0.556s clear of Bottas and 0.794s ahead of Hamilton. Perez took fourth place at the flag with Alonso fifth ahead of Norris. Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll finished seventh ahead of team-mate Sebastian Vettel, while Leclerc headed AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly who rounded out the top 10.
2021 FIA Formula 1 Dutch Grand Prix – Free Practice 3
1 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Honda 1:09.623 13 220.220
2 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:10.179 0.556 17 218.475
3 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:10.417 0.794 22 217.737
4 Sergio Pérez Red Bull/Honda 1:10.526 0.903 20 217.400
5 Fernando Alonso Alpine/Renault 1:10.670 1.047 16 216.957
6 Lando Norris McLaren/Mercedes 1:10.781 1.158 19 216.617
7 Lance Stroll Aston Martin/Mercedes 1:10.842 1.219 19 216.430
8 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin/Mercedes 1:10.872 1.249 20 216.339
9 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:10.896 1.273 20 216.266
10 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri/Honda 1:11.005 1.382 21 215.934
11 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren/Mercedes 1:11.013 1.390 19 215.909
12 Nicholas Latifi Williams/Mercedes 1:11.083 1.460 19 215.697
13 Esteban Ocon Alpine/Renault 1:11.180 1.557 23 215.403
14 George Russell Williams/Mercedes 1:11.274 1.651 20 215.119
15 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo/Ferrari 1:11.299 1.676 20 215.043
16 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 1:11.940 2.317 5 213.127
17 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri/Honda 1:11.980 2.357 29 213.009
18 Nikita Mazepin Haas/Ferrari 1:12.136 2.513 23 212.548
19 Robert Kubica Alfa Romeo/Ferrari 1:12.162 2.539 28 212.471
20 Mick Schumacher Haas/Ferrari 1:12.366 2.743 20 211.872
F1 – Verstappen Powers Clear In Final Practice For Dutch Grand Prix
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