Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Imola, 2021

Verstappen quickest ahead of Norris in final Emilia-Romagna practice

2021 Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix third practice

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Max Verstappen topped the final practice session for the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix, denying Mercedes a clean sweep of fastest practice times.

Verstappen’s 1’14.958 on soft tyres – the fastest lap of the weekend so far – was enough to see him go fastest by almost half a second from Lando Norris in the McLaren.

Lewis Hamilton set the third fastest time for Mercedes, just over half a second adrift from Verstappen’s ultimate pace, with Sergio Perez fourth-fastest in the sister Red Bull.

Having set the pace in both Friday sessions, Valtteri Bottas could only manage the eighth fastest time on the soft tyres, eight tenths off from Verstappen’s benchmark.

Pierre Gasly again demonstrated good pace in the AlphaTauri, going sixth quickest in the session while being the only driver in the top ten to set their best time on the medium compound tyres.

Ferrari had both cars in the top seven, with Charles Leclerc recording the fifth fastest time and teammate Carlos Sainz Jnr just under two tenths slower in seventh,

Aside from Verstappen’s advantage out front, it was another close session with just one second covering Hamilton in third and Nicholas Latifi in 17th.

The session was briefly halted just before the half-hour mark when Latifi ran wide on the exit of the Villeneuve chicane and hit the barriers, damaging his front wing. The Williams driver was able to drive back to the pits for repairs before rejoining the session.

Despite the relaxing of track limits at Acque Minerali overnight, there were a plethora of lap times deleted for track limit infringements, particularly at Piratella. Verstappen, Bottas, Norris and Fernando Alonso were among the many drivers who had times taken off the board for running too wide.

Kimi Raikkonen had a brief excursion through the gravel at the Rivazzas but was able to safely rejoin the circuit and return to the pits. His Alfa Romeo team mate Antonio Giovinazzi had a bizarre spin at the Tamburello Chicane on an outlap, before complaining of excessively cold tyres.

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2021 Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix third practice result

Pos.No.DriverCarBest lapGapLaps
133Max VerstappenRed Bull-Honda1’14.95818
24Lando NorrisMcLaren-Mercedes1’15.4140.45617
344Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’15.5150.55718
411Sergio PerezRed Bull-Honda1’15.5510.59318
516Charles LeclercFerrari1’15.7380.78021
610Pierre GaslyAlphaTauri-Honda1’15.8900.93222
755Carlos Sainz JnrFerrari1’15.9080.95021
877Valtteri BottasMercedes1’15.9080.95019
914Fernando AlonsoAlpine-Renault1’16.1861.22820
1031Esteban OconAlpine-Renault1’16.2281.27020
1122Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauri-Honda1’16.2301.27220
1218Lance StrollAston Martin-Mercedes1’16.2451.28719
133Daniel RicciardoMcLaren-Mercedes1’16.2531.29517
145Sebastian VettelAston Martin-Mercedes1’16.3891.43119
1563George RussellWilliams-Mercedes1’16.4271.46920
1647Mick SchumacherHaas-Ferrari1’16.4481.49022
176Nicholas LatifiWilliams-Mercedes1’16.5371.57915
1899Antonio GiovinazziAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’16.6121.65422
197Kimi RaikkonenAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’16.8031.84523
209Nikita MazepinHaas-Ferrari1’17.3982.44023

Third practice visual gaps

Max Verstappen – 1’14.958

+0.456 Lando Norris – 1’15.414

+0.557 Lewis Hamilton – 1’15.515

+0.593 Sergio Perez – 1’15.551

+0.780 Charles Leclerc – 1’15.738

+0.932 Pierre Gasly – 1’15.890

+0.950 Carlos Sainz Jnr – 1’15.908

+0.950 Valtteri Bottas – 1’15.908

+1.228 Fernando Alonso – 1’16.186

+1.270 Esteban Ocon – 1’16.228

+1.272 Yuki Tsunoda – 1’16.230

+1.287 Lance Stroll – 1’16.245

+1.295 Daniel Ricciardo – 1’16.253

+1.431 Sebastian Vettel – 1’16.389

+1.469 George Russell – 1’16.427

+1.490 Mick Schumacher – 1’16.448

+1.579 Nicholas Latifi – 1’16.537

+1.654 Antonio Giovinazzi – 1’16.612

+1.845 Kimi Raikkonen – 1’16.803

+2.440 Nikita Mazepin – 1’17.398

Drivers more then ten seconds off the pace omitted.

PosDriverCarFP1FP2FP3Fri/Sat diffTotal laps
1Max VerstappenRed Bull-Honda1’16.6221’16.9991’14.958-1.66444
2Lando NorrisMcLaren-Mercedes1’17.9351’16.4851’15.414-1.07156
3Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’16.6051’15.5611’15.515-0.04669
4Valtteri BottasMercedes1’16.5641’15.5511’15.908+0.35767
5Sergio PerezRed Bull-Honda1’18.2281’16.4111’15.551-0.8658
6Pierre GaslyAlphaTauri-Honda1’16.8881’15.6291’15.890+0.26173
7Charles LeclercFerrari1’16.7961’16.3711’15.738-0.63362
8Carlos Sainz JnrFerrari1’16.8881’15.8341’15.908+0.07477
9Fernando AlonsoAlpine-Renault1’17.4571’16.8351’16.186-0.64970
10Esteban OconAlpine-Renault1’18.3601’16.8171’16.228-0.58967
11Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauri-Honda1’19.7811’16.4191’16.230-0.18957
12Lance StrollAston Martin-Mercedes1’17.4891’16.7371’16.245-0.49263
13Daniel RicciardoMcLaren-Mercedes1’17.7691’17.2811’16.253-1.02864
14Sebastian VettelAston Martin-Mercedes1’17.9841’17.0921’16.389-0.70369
15George RussellWilliams-Mercedes1’17.8661’17.1791’16.427-0.75276
16Mick SchumacherHaas-Ferrari1’19.4801’17.3501’16.448-0.90268
17Antonio GiovinazziAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’18.0581’16.5131’16.612+0.09971
18Nicholas LatifiWilliams-Mercedes1’17.7391’16.8231’16.537-0.28668
19Kimi RaikkonenAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’17.8831’17.2731’16.803-0.4766
20Nikita MazepinHaas-Ferrari1’18.8231’17.8571’17.398-0.45961

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2021 Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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9 comments on “Verstappen quickest ahead of Norris in final Emilia-Romagna practice”

  1. Did Gasly not go for a quick lap on the soft tyre? Don’t remember seeing him on TV using those.

    1. I didn’t see that happening. Don’t know if AT is really that quick or if their car is working better on medium compound?
      @hunocsi

  2. I think what comes obvious is mercedes didn’t go full out, it’s unrealistic that norris can be ahead of both mercedes with a mclaren, which isn’t yet at top level.

    1. While perez is still adapting to the new car, so being 6 tenths behind verstappen is not too outlandish, but I think he would halve this gap by qualifying.

  3. I really hope it proves to be this close for qualifying and the race, although I have my doubts. The midfield + Perez could play a huge role in the lead battle, especially if any of them manage to get through Q2 on the mediums. In previous years, the top teams could pull out a pitstop advantage over the rest of the pack within 10 laps, whereas it looks like it will take much longer now. This might render the overcut more powerful than the undercut, although I expect the midfield might pit earlier than the frontrunners. That’s where Perez might come in handy for Red Bull, by running long on the mediums and holding up the Mercedes after their pitstops.

    1. But we will have to wait and see if there are any – incidents- in qualifying… with the amount of errors and reliability issues there has been in free practice and even last qualifying, we could be in for an interesting session – and race for that matter

  4. What’s up with Danny Ric. All weekend he has been off Norris’s pace.

    Hope it is just a one off

    1. He’s obviously struggling with something but I think part of it is that Norris is a bit better than people thought. He was on pace with Sainz and he’s moved to Ferrari and is immediately close to Leclerc.

      I don’t think Ricciardo is going dominate Norris even once he’s used to the team and is up to speed.

  5. I guess Montoya laughed at Tsunoda’s sweary outburst at Pérez.

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