Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Autodromo do Algarve, 2021

Verstappen leads Mercedes pair in final practice

2021 Portuguese Grand Prix third practice

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Max Verstappen led the final practice session for the Portuguese Grand Prix, lapping two-tenths of a second faster than Lewis Hamilton.

Verstappen was fastest by two tenths over Hamilton, although both did the same number of laps in the session. Both of them set their fastest times on soft tyres, as did every driver.

Behind the session-topping Mercedes and Red Bull duos, Esteban Ocon continued to demonstrate considerably improved pace in his Alpine, lapping just 0.020 seconds behind Perez.

Fernando Alonso in the other Alpine at one point matched Hamilton’s pace. But his best lap time – a 1’18.735 – was deleted for a narrow track limits violation at turn one. It was one of 23 times deleted across the field, mostly for drivers running wide at turn one.

Two drivers spun on track: Lando Norris carried too much speed into turn 13 but was able to continue and set his best lap time immediately after. Nikita Mazepin had a more dramatic spin at the same spot, ruining his tyres and missing the pit entry, having to tour around slowly before he could return to the garage.

After what had seemed a slightly bleak Friday for McLaren, Norris set eighth-fastest time while Ricciardo went 12th-fastest. Both Ferraris were ahead of Norris, despite a slightly strange radio complaint from Leclerc where he alleged that other cars were deliberately getting in their way, knowing how vulnerable their car is to dirty air.

It was a tricky session for Aston Martin, who finished 16th and 18th, behind Mick Schumacher’s Haas. They at least managed considerable running, unlike Williams, whose cars set some of the lowest lap counts. Nicholas Latifi, who finished 19th, used only soft tyres and pitted six times during the hour-long session.

Times were considerably faster in third practice than second, in line which drivers expectations yesterday that the track is quickest when it is a little cooler and the wind drops. Conditions are expected to gets warmer but also breezier as the day goes on, so qualifying could prove trickier for the drivers.

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2021 Portuguese Grand Prix third practice result

Pos.No.DriverCarBest lapGapLaps
133Max VerstappenRed Bull-Honda1’18.48921
244Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’18.7250.23621
377Valtteri BottasMercedes1’18.8200.33118
411Sergio PerezRed Bull-Honda1’18.8400.35124
531Esteban OconAlpine-Renault1’18.8600.37118
616Charles LeclercFerrari1’19.0010.51222
755Carlos Sainz JnrFerrari1’19.0500.56124
84Lando NorrisMcLaren-Mercedes1’19.2720.78318
910Pierre GaslyAlphaTauri-Honda1’19.3740.88525
107Kimi RaikkonenAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’19.4150.92625
1122Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauri-Honda1’19.4850.99625
123Daniel RicciardoMcLaren-Mercedes1’19.5821.09319
1399Antonio GiovinazziAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’19.5881.09923
1414Fernando AlonsoAlpine-Renault1’19.9491.46020
1547Mick SchumacherHaas-Ferrari1’20.0331.54421
1618Lance StrollAston Martin-Mercedes1’20.0901.60116
1763George RussellWilliams-Mercedes1’20.1271.63817
185Sebastian VettelAston Martin-Mercedes1’20.2141.72520
196Nicholas LatifiWilliams-Mercedes1’20.6812.19218
209Nikita MazepinHaas-Ferrari1’20.6902.20120

Third practice visual gaps

Max Verstappen – 1’18.489

+0.236 Lewis Hamilton – 1’18.725

+0.331 Valtteri Bottas – 1’18.820

+0.351 Sergio Perez – 1’18.840

+0.371 Esteban Ocon – 1’18.860

+0.512 Charles Leclerc – 1’19.001

+0.561 Carlos Sainz Jnr – 1’19.050

+0.783 Lando Norris – 1’19.272

+0.885 Pierre Gasly – 1’19.374

+0.926 Kimi Raikkonen – 1’19.415

+0.996 Yuki Tsunoda – 1’19.485

+1.093 Daniel Ricciardo – 1’19.582

+1.099 Antonio Giovinazzi – 1’19.588

+1.460 Fernando Alonso – 1’19.949

+1.544 Mick Schumacher – 1’20.033

+1.601 Lance Stroll – 1’20.090

+1.638 George Russell – 1’20.127

+1.725 Sebastian Vettel – 1’20.214

+2.192 Nicholas Latifi – 1’20.681

+2.201 Nikita Mazepin – 1’20.690

Drivers more then ten seconds off the pace omitted.

PosDriverCarFP1FP2FP3Fri/Sat diffTotal laps
1Max VerstappenRed Bull-Honda1’19.6731’19.9801’18.489-1.18469
2Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’19.9671’19.8371’18.725-1.11285
3Valtteri BottasMercedes1’19.6481’20.1811’18.820-0.82876
4Sergio PerezRed Bull-Honda1’19.8461’20.5161’18.840-1.00673
5Esteban OconAlpine-Renault1’20.8001’20.2351’18.860-1.37575
6Charles LeclercFerrari1’19.8841’20.3601’19.001-0.88381
7Carlos Sainz JnrFerrari1’20.6801’20.1971’19.050-1.14783
8Lando NorrisMcLaren-Mercedes1’20.6351’20.7571’19.272-1.36371
9Pierre GaslyAlphaTauri-Honda1’20.4441’20.5581’19.374-1.0789
10Kimi RaikkonenAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’21.3811’21.2251’19.415-1.8171
11Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauri-Honda1’21.0901’21.0531’19.485-1.56885
12Daniel RicciardoMcLaren-Mercedes1’20.9951’20.4181’19.582-0.83679
13Antonio GiovinazziAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’21.2381’19.588-1.6555
14Fernando AlonsoAlpine-Renault1’21.3031’20.2201’19.949-0.27181
15Mick SchumacherHaas-Ferrari1’21.9391’21.5371’20.033-1.50478
16Lance StrollAston Martin-Mercedes1’20.8941’20.4271’20.090-0.33775
17George RussellWilliams-Mercedes1’20.5291’20.9761’20.127-0.40277
18Sebastian VettelAston Martin-Mercedes1’21.4051’21.0741’20.214-0.8682
19Nicholas LatifiWilliams-Mercedes1’22.2931’21.8551’20.681-1.17477
20Nikita MazepinHaas-Ferrari1’24.2241’22.6381’20.690-1.94876
21Callum IlottAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’21.80621

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2021 Portuguese Grand Prix

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Author information

Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a motorsport and automotive journalist with a particular interest in hybrid systems, electrification, batteries and new fuel technologies....

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8 comments on “Verstappen leads Mercedes pair in final practice”

  1. Qualifying is going to be complete madness today!
    One error from RB or Mercedes could cost them up to three rows on the grid, considering how close Ferrari & Alpine are.
    Q2 is impossible to predict and even Mick Schumacher could make it past Q1.

    1. Sounds great doesn’t it!
      To think that some people say they don’t like the current qualifying format!

      1. @eurobrun I don’t know that many are saying they don’t like the current format, but there seem to be many like me who don’t mind an exploration for an even more exciting way. And the current format will still be used on Friday, so no one is missing out. To me the only thing that has changed with the current format is that we now have a sense that it might not always be a Mercedes on pole. And yeah, that is exciting.

      2. Yes, I so not mind trialling a new format for three races.

  2. The Alpines are looking a bit stronger than the previous rounds, let’s see how they fare in qualifying. Also, looking at the onboards the Alpine seems quite brutal in gear shifts, the car looks so nervous or is it just an impression?

    1. Could very well be. Their short runs look very impressive, but their long runs yesterday were slower than McLaren & Alpha Tauri. Let’s see what happens in qualifying.

  3. I sincerely hope Seb was doing some late set-up work and not going all out for a fast lap.

    1. Just a tenth slower than stroll, could be the car isn’t very competitive, ofc it’s just practice but fp3 starts being a bit more representative usually.

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