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Verstappen puts Hamilton on alert with quickest time in final practice

2021 Spanish Grand Prix third practice

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Max Verstappen sent a warning to Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes ahead of qualifying for the Spanish Grand Prix by setting the fastest time in final practice.

The Red Bull driver finished the final practice session fastest of all, over two tenths quicker than championship Lewis Hamilton.

The two Ferraris of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz Jnr were around half a second slower than Verstappen, with Valtteri Bottas fifth fastest in the second Mercedes.

It was another warm and clear session as the cars ventured out onto the circuit for the final practice session.

Antonio Giovinazzi lost a small piece of bodywork running over the kerbs, while Daniel Ricciardo took to the old section of the circuit in the final sector to get out of the way of a car on a fast lap.

After over 20 minutes had passed, the two Mercedes eventually made their way out onto the circuit. Hamilton went fastest of all on the soft tyre with a 1’18.117, with Bottas three tenths off his team mate’s pace and Verstappen half a second behind on the medium tyres.

Verstappen was audibly unhappy at Hamilton not letting him by in the final sector, lamenting over the radio: “is it him again behind? Unbelievable, this guy in the last sector.”

Kimi Raikkonen suffered a right rear puncture on his Alfa Romeo and had to cruise slowly back to the pits. He was able to safely recover to the garage without the tyre delaminating further and causing any damage to his car.

Lando Norris was caught out when he was told to pit while under braking for turn 10, resulting in him running off onto the gravel. He was able to get back on track without any further dramas.

As the time wound down, the teams moved onto the soft tyres for qualifying simulation runs. Hamilton improved on his own time, but an even better lap by Verstappen saw the Red Bull go over two tenths faster thanks to a very strong middle sector, ensuring he would finish the session quickest of all.

Raikkonen shrugged off his puncture to set the ninth fastest time in his Alfa Romeo, while Sergio Perez will need to find some more performance before qualifying after he was almost eight tenths off his Red Bull team mate’s ultimate pace.

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2021 Spanish Grand Prix third practice result

Pos.No.DriverCarBest lapGapLaps
133Max VerstappenRed Bull-Honda1’17.83511
244Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’18.0700.23514
316Charles LeclercFerrari1’18.3080.47317
455Carlos Sainz JnrFerrari1’18.4100.57518
577Valtteri BottasMercedes1’18.4230.58815
64Lando NorrisMcLaren-Mercedes1’18.4940.65914
710Pierre GaslyAlphaTauri-Honda1’18.5350.70017
83Daniel RicciardoMcLaren-Mercedes1’18.5820.74721
97Kimi RaikkonenAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’18.5970.76217
1011Sergio PerezRed Bull-Honda1’18.6060.77116
1114Fernando AlonsoAlpine-Renault1’18.6620.82718
1222Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauri-Honda1’18.6730.83821
1331Esteban OconAlpine-Renault1’18.7000.86515
1418Lance StrollAston Martin-Mercedes1’18.8771.04218
1563George RussellWilliams-Mercedes1’19.0051.17016
1699Antonio GiovinazziAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’19.2141.37918
175Sebastian VettelAston Martin-Mercedes1’19.3631.52818
186Nicholas LatifiWilliams-Mercedes1’19.3921.55716
1947Mick SchumacherHaas-Ferrari1’19.9992.16417
209Nikita MazepinHaas-Ferrari1’20.2372.40215

Third practice visual gaps

Max Verstappen – 1’17.835

+0.235 Lewis Hamilton – 1’18.070

+0.473 Charles Leclerc – 1’18.308

+0.575 Carlos Sainz Jnr – 1’18.410

+0.588 Valtteri Bottas – 1’18.423

+0.659 Lando Norris – 1’18.494

+0.700 Pierre Gasly – 1’18.535

+0.747 Daniel Ricciardo – 1’18.582

+0.762 Kimi Raikkonen – 1’18.597

+0.771 Sergio Perez – 1’18.606

+0.827 Fernando Alonso – 1’18.662

+0.838 Yuki Tsunoda – 1’18.673

+0.865 Esteban Ocon – 1’18.700

+1.042 Lance Stroll – 1’18.877

+1.170 George Russell – 1’19.005

+1.379 Antonio Giovinazzi – 1’19.214

+1.528 Sebastian Vettel – 1’19.363

+1.557 Nicholas Latifi – 1’19.392

+2.164 Mick Schumacher – 1’19.999

+2.402 Nikita Mazepin – 1’20.237

Drivers more then ten seconds off the pace omitted.

PosDriverCarFP1FP2FP3Fri/Sat diffTotal laps
1Max VerstappenRed Bull-Honda1’18.5371’18.7851’17.835-0.70256
2Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’18.6271’18.1701’18.070-0.168
3Charles LeclercFerrari1’18.9961’18.3351’18.308-0.02770
4Valtteri BottasMercedes1’18.5041’18.3091’18.423+0.11471
5Carlos Sainz JnrFerrari1’19.0201’18.6741’18.410-0.26470
6Esteban OconAlpine-Renault1’19.6811’18.4661’18.700+0.23469
7Lando NorrisMcLaren-Mercedes1’18.9441’19.0921’18.494-0.4566
8Fernando AlonsoAlpine-Renault1’19.9501’18.5181’18.662+0.14473
9Pierre GaslyAlphaTauri-Honda1’19.0621’18.5931’18.535-0.05875
10Daniel RicciardoMcLaren-Mercedes1’19.7321’19.1951’18.582-0.61373
11Kimi RaikkonenAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’19.2131’18.597-0.61647
12Sergio PerezRed Bull-Honda1’19.3491’18.9181’18.606-0.31256
13Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauri-Honda1’19.6691’18.6191’18.673+0.05473
14Lance StrollAston Martin-Mercedes1’19.4291’19.1341’18.877-0.25772
15Sebastian VettelAston Martin-Mercedes1’19.2341’18.9471’19.363+0.41672
16George RussellWilliams-Mercedes1’19.9571’19.005-0.95245
17Antonio GiovinazziAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’19.6941’19.1221’19.214+0.09270
18Nicholas LatifiWilliams-Mercedes1’20.2701’20.0461’19.392-0.65467
19Mick SchumacherHaas-Ferrari1’20.7661’20.3261’19.999-0.32770
20Nikita MazepinHaas-Ferrari1’21.9761’20.7531’20.237-0.51664
21Roy NissanyWilliams-Mercedes1’20.70023
22Robert KubicaAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’21.88713

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2021 Spanish Grand Prix

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Author information

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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13 comments on “Verstappen puts Hamilton on alert with quickest time in final practice”

  1. What happened to Perez?

    Max ;)

    1. @anunaki Nothing, only practice.

      1. Only practice yes, but fp3 is usually a bit more representative (still wouldn’t trust it) than the first 2, and let’s not forget perez was half a sec behind in portugal qualifying, while verstappen had a time able to give a tenth to bottas, so 6 tenths difference, not good from perez ofc, even as a historically not good qualifier, it risks to put him behind slower cars.

        1. So with that theory we can expect Vettel on pole?

  2. Max has been focussing on the race pace and so has Perez. They now put Mercedes on alert and will go for it in qualifying and might be targeting something strategic for qualifying… The strategy with Perez seemed to work quite well so they might go for a repeat if Max cannot get onto the front row. Qualifying will be interesting!

  3. As usual, almost every race weekend has at least one driver calling out Hamilton on blocking their laps.

    1. Tommy Scragend
      8th May 2021, 12:28

      Maybe he should stop blocking other drivers then.

  4. Tyre management at its finest. Kimi managing a delaminating tyre all the way back to box, “without the tyre delaminating further or causing any damage to his car”.
    This could be a test set for each of the 20 drivers in turn, during a practice session, with 3 points awarded to all who can succeed.

  5. Max on top of fp3 for the 8th consecutive time. very meaningful..

  6. I have to say I didn’t expect verstappen to be ahead in fp3, was expecting a mercedes 1-2 again, but still not at full power yet, so we’ll see.

    1. Wow Will, an F3 race report AND an F1 practice report within a couple hours? Good going :)

  7. Verstappen was audibly unhappy at Hamilton not letting him by in the final sector, lamenting over the radio: “is it him again behind? Unbelievable, this guy in the last sector.”

    He meant Lewis was bloody fast! That he already was behind Max not that he was unhappy but supprised… Keith you need to understand Dutch English thoughts a bit

    1. Learn to read minds already!

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