Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Zandvoort, 2021

Verstappen flies to top time as Sainz crashes heavily in final practice

2021 Dutch Grand Prix third practice

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Max Verstappen put his Red Bull half a second clear of the Mercedes pair in the final practice session ahead of qualifying.

Aided by a perfectly-positioned tow from his team mate, Verstappen set the quickest lap time of the weekend so far with a 1’09.623.

However, the session was disrupted when Carlos Sainz Jnr crashed heavily at turn three, losing the rear of his Ferrari after the fast right-hand kink of turn two and spinning on entry into the banked Hugenholtz turn and backing his car into the reinforced barriers. The Ferrari driver was unhurt, but left his team with an extensive repair job ahead of qualifying.

The rest of the session was, fortunately, uninterrupted after Sainz’s car had been retrieved. Sebastian Vettel had had a small off early on, taking out a DRS board but otherwise unaffected. The trackside boards had already suffered considerable losses during Formula 3’s race this morning.

Lando Norris also had an off later in the session, going through gravel at turn 10 after having a major oversteer moment and losing the rear of the car. The gravel did its job and he avoided any damage in the barriers there, able to continue back to the garage for the last fifteen minutes of practice.

Finally Mick Schumacher went through the gravel between turns 11 and 12. He was able to continue but gave marshals another sweeping job there before qualifying.

Fernando Alonso looked rapid all session, repeatedly taking the fastest time as drivers began their soft runs. Alonso ended the session the best driver in a non-Mercedes or Red Bull car, beating Norris, who had also looked highly competitive.

Neither of their team mates, Daniel Ricciardo or Esteban Ocon, were able to break the top ten of times. However, Ocon did report midway through the session that he had an electrical deployment problem.

Sergio Perez looked much more able to equal Verstappen’s pace than in the Friday practice sessions, while Hamilton’s lack of prior running seemed not to trouble him too badly, consistently at the sharp end of the times.

Aston Martin were the only midfield team to get both of their drivers into the top ten times. Charles Leclerc was ninth-fastest for Ferrari but not looking anywhere near as competitive as when he and Sainz had topped second practice.

Track temperatures were markedly cooler in final practice than on Friday afternoon. Second practice ended with the tarmac around 35C, final practice started at 26C and with the highest wind speed yet of the weekend.

Robert Kubica has stepped into Kimi Raikkonen’s Alfa Romeo for the rest of the weekend, following a positive COVID-19 test for Raikkonen, completed the session without incident, putting in 28 laps, the second-most of any driver after Yuki Tsunoda’s 29.

2021 Dutch Grand Prix third practice result

Pos.No.DriverCarBest lapGapLaps
133Max VerstappenRed Bull-Honda1’09.62313
277Valtteri BottasMercedes1’10.1790.55616
344Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’10.4170.79422
411Sergio PerezRed Bull-Honda1’10.5260.90319
514Fernando AlonsoAlpine-Renault1’10.6701.04716
64Lando NorrisMcLaren-Mercedes1’10.7811.15818
718Lance StrollAston Martin-Mercedes1’10.8421.21919
85Sebastian VettelAston Martin-Mercedes1’10.8721.24919
916Charles LeclercFerrari1’10.8961.27319
1010Pierre GaslyAlphaTauri-Honda1’11.0051.38221
113Daniel RicciardoMcLaren-Mercedes1’11.0131.39018
126Nicholas LatifiWilliams-Mercedes1’11.0831.46019
1331Esteban OconAlpine-Renault1’11.1801.55722
1463George RussellWilliams-Mercedes1’11.2741.65120
1599Antonio GiovinazziAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’11.2991.67619
1655Carlos Sainz JnrFerrari1’11.9402.3175
1722Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauri-Honda1’11.9802.35729
189Nikita MazepinHaas-Ferrari1’12.1362.51322
1988Robert KubicaAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’12.1622.53927
2047Mick SchumacherHaas-Ferrari1’12.3662.74319

Third practice visual gaps

Max Verstappen – 1’09.623

+0.556 Valtteri Bottas – 1’10.179

+0.794 Lewis Hamilton – 1’10.417

+0.903 Sergio Perez – 1’10.526

+1.047 Fernando Alonso – 1’10.670

+1.158 Lando Norris – 1’10.781

+1.219 Lance Stroll – 1’10.842

+1.249 Sebastian Vettel – 1’10.872

+1.273 Charles Leclerc – 1’10.896

+1.382 Pierre Gasly – 1’11.005

+1.390 Daniel Ricciardo – 1’11.013

+1.460 Nicholas Latifi – 1’11.083

+1.557 Esteban Ocon – 1’11.180

+1.651 George Russell – 1’11.274

+1.676 Antonio Giovinazzi – 1’11.299

+2.317 Carlos Sainz Jnr – 1’11.940

+2.357 Yuki Tsunoda – 1’11.980

+2.513 Nikita Mazepin – 1’12.136

+2.539 Robert Kubica – 1’12.162

+2.743 Mick Schumacher – 1’12.366

Drivers more then ten seconds off the pace omitted.

PosDriverCarFP1FP2FP3Fri/Sat diffTotal laps
1Max VerstappenRed Bull-Honda1’11.5971’11.2641’09.623-1.64157
2Valtteri BottasMercedes1’11.7381’11.1321’10.179-0.95366
3Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’11.5001’11.9111’10.417-1.08342
4Sergio PerezRed Bull-Honda1’13.3281’11.9461’10.526-1.4262
5Fernando AlonsoAlpine-Renault1’12.1581’11.2801’10.670-0.6163
6Lando NorrisMcLaren-Mercedes1’12.6791’11.4881’10.781-0.70762
7Lance StrollAston Martin-Mercedes1’12.4311’12.1361’10.842-1.29465
8Sebastian VettelAston Martin-Mercedes1’15.9841’11.7131’10.872-0.84149
9Charles LeclercFerrari1’11.6231’10.9021’10.896-0.00665
10Pierre GaslyAlphaTauri-Honda1’12.5151’11.4621’11.005-0.45767
11Daniel RicciardoMcLaren-Mercedes1’13.0811’12.1571’11.013-1.14459
12Carlos Sainz JnrFerrari1’11.6011’11.0561’11.940+0.88451
13Esteban OconAlpine-Renault1’12.2311’11.0741’11.180+0.10671
14Nicholas LatifiWilliams-Mercedes1’12.9071’12.6101’11.083-1.52761
15George RussellWilliams-Mercedes1’13.1811’12.8551’11.274-1.58164
16Antonio GiovinazziAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’12.3591’11.6781’11.299-0.37966
17Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauri-Honda1’12.0961’11.980-0.11662
18Nikita MazepinHaas-Ferrari1’13.5161’12.8351’12.136-0.69948
19Kimi RaikkonenAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’13.0531’12.20649
20Mick SchumacherHaas-Ferrari1’13.8471’12.6071’12.366-0.24166

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2021 Dutch 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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27 comments on “Verstappen flies to top time as Sainz crashes heavily in final practice”

  1. F1 is so boring with one driver dominating. /s

    Seriously fast pace from Verstappen. Going to take something special from the Mercedes to catch him in qualifying.

    1. Yes, I know it’s sarcasm but it can’t be called domination until the 2nd driver starts beating the mercedes ofc.

      1. someone or something
        4th September 2021, 13:24

        One driver cannot be dominating if his team mate doesn’t beat everyone else as well? I’m not sure if I agree … ;-)

  2. It’s interesting to see a progression of times from practice to practice. Kubica, with his 1:12.1s was 0.2s faster than Giovanazzi and 0.7s faster than Raikonnen in their first practice.

    Cool to see Alonso in top-5, we’ll see if that’s a representation of Alpine’s actual pace in quali.

    1. The even bigger progression here is that Kimi improved 8/10s between P1 and P2, and between P2 and P3 he actually become Robert Kubica.

      1. well that’s normal in practice session, considering setup progression, condition of track.. let alone fuel cons, tyre freshness, sandbagging if it’s happen…

        and usually quali time will drop a second or two further

      2. I’ve made an error: Kubica was 0.9s faster than Kimi, and after Kimi improved by 0.8s in FP2, Kubica’s first practice was still faster.

  3. two biggest takeaways for me – Ferrari dropping ball compared to yesterday, and Tsunoda’s invisibility. Although Leclerc was .4 behind after the 1st sector on his final attempt, maybe he could’ve improved, but would still end up at least 0.9 behind.

    1. @njoydesign seems pretty clear Ferrari was already turned up higher yesterday, while Merc.,Honda turned up their PU for today, putting them down a notch (or two). Interesting to not see Alpine drop (yet?) like they often do from Friday to quali.

  4. Red Bull Best Car + Verstappen Best Driver of the season confirmed.

    1. How do you know RB is the best car, huh?

    2. Best driver ok, although norris has been super too, hard to separate them given the car differences, best car I don’t think so, they’ve been pretty similar so far and perez still isn’t beating any mercedes.

      1. Imagine not thinking the RB is the best car… why is everyone too scared to admit the obvious?

        1. @theswift Bottas and Perez are about the same level as drivers, let me know when Perez’ Red Bull regularly goes quicker than Bottas’ Mercedes. At that point, you may have a point about the Red Bull being the faster car, but until then, it’s still Mercedes, and a Red Bull that is only quicker because Verstappen is the best driver currently in F1

          1. So let me confirm – we can’t state the RB is quicker, but we can state that VER is the best driver in F1 at the moment? Okay.

    3. Redbull the most hypocrite team in the paddock by a large margin, and Max is the most protected who gets away with every consievable bad behaviour on or off track… That’s also confirmed by stewards today. People keep playing down ifs buts yes no if it was Lewis situation. They know very well that Lewis in the same shoes would be receiving a grid penalty thanx to utmost safety efforts by Redbull Gods… There is no ifs or buts that is 100%

      1. Nofanboysplease
        4th September 2021, 13:53

        First half of the season I only heard Lewis and Toto complaining about everything on the RB car, Max’s aggressive style, bending wings, pitstops etc….. so which team is the most sore loser? I imagine you are a MB fan,… and that’s fine you have your opinion

      2. And the sore loser again.
        It’s clear you are unable to enjoy a race.

  5. Quali is going to have Red flags too.

  6. First time in the car this weekend and on a new track and Kubica is less than a second slower than Giovinazzi. Giovinazzi really isn’t a big deal, is he.

    I am happy for Kubica that he has another chance to race in F1. I was always a big fan. The magic that he was is far behind him thanks to that terrible rallying incident, so I’m just happy for him to have another go.

    1. someone or something
      4th September 2021, 13:48

      That’s a bit of a far-fetched conclusion.
      Firstly, the fact that it’s a new track evens the playing field. Both Giovinazzi and Kubica have raced there in the past (Giovinazzi as recently as 2015, Kubica goes back to 2004), but as far as modern F1 cars are concerned, the bulk of their preparation will have been in the sim.

      Secondly, this is an extremely short track. Relatively speaking, Kubica was 1.2% slower than Giovinazzi. If you apply that to a qualifying lap at wet Spa, the same percentage is almost worth 1.5 seconds per lap.
      The entire midfield from Alonso in 5th to Giovinazzi in 15th is separated by 0.629 seconds. If there were more cars in in the midfield, with the same kind of gaps between them (on average 0.057 seconds, if you include Sainz). Kubica would find himself in 30th place.

      My takeaway is that Kubica’s effort has been commendable, given his lack of preparation. However, the conclusion that Giovinazzi must be very average because Kubica’s deficit doesn’t look that big, sounds like a big stretch to me. It may well be the case, but it’s nowhere in the available data.

      1. someone or something
        4th September 2021, 15:38

        … aaaand the gap is up to 1.25 in Q1.
        No disrespect to Kubica, it would be just as wrong to criticize him based on that gap.
        The only sensible comparisons that can be made in such cases is when the replacement driver immediately performs on the same level or better than the resident driver (e.g. when Hülkenberg replaced Pérez or Russell replaced Hamilton), or when the replacement driver is seconds off his team mate’s pace and doesn’t really improve (e.g. when Badoer replaced Massa).
        Anything in between is just baseless speculation.

        1. someone or something
          4th September 2021, 15:40

          1.25 = 1,8% => over 2 seconds in Wet Spa Qualifying Time Equivalent (WSQTE).

    2. This didn’t age too well…

      1. someone or something
        4th September 2021, 18:20

        Shocker ^^

  7. Good to see Williams improving from yesterday. Latifi seems to have the edge over Russell so far this weekend, but Russell normally pulls something out of the bag in quali.

  8. Has F1 set a record for the most consecutively red flagged sessions? Off the top of my head, we’re currently on 5 right? These 3 practice sessions, the race and qualy in Belgium. It seems like we’re having a lot lately.

Comments are closed.