Sergio Perez, Red Bull, Spa-Francorchamps, 2022

Perez quickest in final practice as Leclerc spins into barriers

2022 Belgian Grand Prix third practice

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Sergio Perez heads into qualifying for the Belgian Grand Prix having set the fastest time in final practice ahead of team mate Max Verstappen.

Perez’s final flying lap saw him take the fastest time overall, just a tenth ahead of his team mate. Carlos Sainz Jnr was third fastest for Ferrari with Charles Leclerc seventh after spinning lightly into the barrier at Fagnes.

Cloud cover hung over the Spa circuit as the cars ventured out for the start of the final practice hour of the weekend. Forecasts indicated a 30% chance of rain during the session, but the track stayed dry.

Both Red Bulls and both Mercedes took to the track on used soft tyres to carry out high fuel runs, allowing the two Alfa Romeos of Zhou Guanyu and Valtteri Bottas to set the early pace on new softs ahead of the Aston Martins of Lance Stroll and Sebastian Vettel.

It took until almost halfway through the hour before Ferrari took to the track for the first time. Heading out on new soft tyres, Sainz immediately jumped to the top of the times with a 1’46.461, while Leclerc went second fastest after his first effort. Alexander Albon used the strong top speed of his Williams to split the Ferraris and go second, before Perez used a fresh set of softs to lower the fastest time overall to a 1’45.972, nearly half a second faster than Sainz.

Verstappen’s first full push lap was ruined by a ‘phantom’ yellow flag at the chicane, but his second effort on five lap old softs was comfortably fast enough to put him top of the times with a 1’45.480 – half a second quicker than team mate Perez and almost a full second quicker than the Ferraris. Lando Norris jumped up to third place on new soft tyres, just seven thousandths of a second quicker than Perez.

Leclerc attempted to improve with another flying lap, but lost control of his car on the entry to the Fagnes chicane and spun backwards into the tyre barrier. The contact with the wall was gentle enough to allow him to drive out of the gravel and back onto the track, but with manor bodywork damage to the rear of the car.

Despite the Ferrari able to drive out of the gravel unaided, the session was red flagged. After a brief delay, the session resumed for the handful of minutes still remaining. Perez headed out on another new set of soft tyres and put in a 1’45.047 to top of the times, a tenth quicker than his team mate.

The chequered flag fell to tend the session, leaving Perez fastest ahead of his team mate. Sainz ended the session third-fastest, seven tenths of a second behind Perez, with Norris in fourth position.

Fernando Alonso was fifth fastest for Alpine, with George Russell in sixth for Mercedes. Leclerc finished the session down in seventh, ahead of Sebastian Vettel, Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly completing the top 10.

2022 Belgian Grand Prix third practice result

111Sergio PerezRed BullRB181’45.04719
21Max VerstappenRed BullRB181’45.1840.13719
355Carlos Sainz JnrFerrariF1-751’45.8240.77713
44Lando NorrisMcLaren-MercedesMCL361’45.9650.91820
514Fernando AlonsoAlpine-RenaultA5221’46.0611.01416
663George RussellMercedesW131’46.0711.02419
716Charles LeclercFerrariF1-751’46.1201.07312
85Sebastian VettelAston Martin-MercedesAMR221’46.1661.11918
931Esteban OconAlpine-RenaultA5221’46.6011.55424
1010Pierre GaslyAlphaTauri-Red BullAT031’46.6041.55719
113Daniel RicciardoMcLaren-MercedesMCL361’46.6461.59918
1244Lewis HamiltonMercedesW131’46.7691.72220
136Nicholas LatifiWilliams-MercedesFW441’46.8111.76420
1423Alexander AlbonWilliams-MercedesFW441’46.8361.78920
1577Valtteri BottasAlfa Romeo-FerrariC421’46.8811.83420
1618Lance StrollAston Martin-MercedesAMR221’46.9751.92816
1720Kevin MagnussenHaas-FerrariVF-221’46.9821.93513
1822Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauri-Red BullAT031’47.0351.98823
1924Zhou GuanyuAlfa Romeo-FerrariC421’47.0892.04220
2047Mick SchumacherHaas-FerrariVF-221’52.4947.4476

Combined practice times

PositionNumberDriverTeamFP1 timeFP2 timeFP3 timeGapLaps
111Sergio PerezRed Bull1’48.4741’47.3461’45.04747
21Max VerstappenRed Bull1’46.7551’45.5071’45.1840.13749
355Carlos Sainz JnrFerrari1’46.5381’46.6491’45.8240.77749
44Lando NorrisMcLaren-Mercedes1’49.4701’46.5891’45.9650.91851
514Fernando AlonsoAlpine-Renault1’49.6641’46.9751’46.0611.01451
663George RussellMercedes1’47.3961’47.0421’46.0711.02454
716Charles LeclercFerrari1’46.6071’46.3691’46.1201.07349
85Sebastian VettelAston Martin-Mercedes1’49.8131’47.8671’46.1661.11949
931Esteban OconAlpine-Renault1’50.3151’47.9441’46.6011.55450
1010Pierre GaslyAlphaTauri-Red Bull1’47.7821’46.6041.55738
1118Lance StrollAston Martin-Mercedes1’47.4371’46.6351’46.9751.58845
123Daniel RicciardoMcLaren-Mercedes1’48.0811’47.2551’46.6461.59950
1344Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’48.4201’46.8931’46.7691.72248
146Nicholas LatifiWilliams-Mercedes1’48.4851’48.6121’46.8111.76447
1523Alexander AlbonWilliams-Mercedes1’47.8351’47.5201’46.8361.78950
1677Valtteri BottasAlfa Romeo-FerrariNo time1’48.4191’46.8811.83443
1720Kevin MagnussenHaas-Ferrari1’50.9821’48.2081’46.9821.93541
1822Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauri-Red Bull1’48.3101’47.6581’47.0351.98855
1924Zhou GuanyuAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’48.6721’47.6171’47.0892.04255
2047Mick SchumacherHaas-Ferrari1’51.2591’49.9411’52.4944.89443
2140Liam LawsonAlphaTauri-Red Bull1’52.0657.01814

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2022 Belgian 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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12 comments on “Perez quickest in final practice as Leclerc spins into barriers”

  1. I really don’t understand Leclerc’s mentality. I realise you need to find the limit for qualifying and can therefore make a mistake even in P3, but he’s starting from the back anyway this weekend. There was nothing to gain and he was pushing like crazy. As they pointed out on Sky commentary he nearly lost it at the same corner on his previous attempt, so really this was quite predictable. Luckily he got away without badly damaging the car, but the worrying thing is he doesn’t seem to be learning from his mistakes.

    1. I really don’t understand Leclerc’s mentality.

      He has to find the absolute limit in S2 because that’s the only place where Ferrari can make up time. Their top speed is too low. They’re losing multiple tenths through S1, which is just a single corner.

  2. Completely pointless red flag by the race director.

    Oddly, Ferrari still seems to set up their cars as if DRS wasn’t a factor. But top speed has so far been the winning ticket far more often than pace through medium speed corners. Leclerc’s race is going to be pretty tough with this Sector 2 focused set-up while Verstappen will probably sail into the top spots quite easily.

  3. Red Bull seems by far the quickest on this track, but fairly sure Perez won’t deliver in Qualifying. My money would be on Sainz to get pole, maybe with a Merc in 2nd.

    1. It’s Pérez’ pole and win to lose, for sure. The Red Bull is very strong.

  4. The Mercedes are simply flying now that they were the only ones to bring a new floor to the race their bespoke floor regulations came into force.

    1. Did they it seems the new chasis of Red Bull does wonders!

    2. All that fuss and lobbying for reg changes and Merc still seem about a sec a lap slower. Are they just too draggy for these high speed circuits?

  5. Is that Williams pace real? And do they have 2 upgraded cars now or does Albon still have the edge.

    1. Guessing you stopped watching towards the end, most of the field overtook them by then and they ended up in the lower midfield as usual. They were probably just doing their program in a different order to the other teams, also why Alfa Romeo were 2 secs ahead of everyone else near the start of the session. They gave Latifi the same upgrades as Albon at the last GP (Hungary) I believe.

  6. manor bodywork damage

    As the song goes:
    “But how strange the change
    From major to minor”

    1. Manor bodywork damage is when you let Nick Wirth design your car.

Comments are closed.