FP3: Mercedes continues to dominate as Bottas tops FP3

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Confirming its dominant performance around the twisty Hungaroring, Mercedes topped the final free practice session courtesy of Valtteri Bottas who set the best lap with a time of 1m15.437.

Following heavy rain showers during the second practice session, the weather has turned for the better for the third and final session ahead of the all-important qualifying. Lando Norris and Kevin Magnussen were the first driver to hit the Hungaroring, completing an installation lap.

2005 race winner Kimi Räikkönen was the first to set a timed lap, posting a time of 1m19.136 with his Alfa Romeo C39. The Finn driver was desperate to gain some experience on the dry track as he handed his over to Robert Kubica in the first practice, the only session held in dry conditions. On his second hot lap on the soft C4 Pirelli tyres, the 2007 champion improved his time to 1m18.617.

The Williams duo joined Räikkönen on the track, but they opted for the yellow-walled medium compound.

Of the top teams, Red Bull was the first to hit the track, sending Alexander Albon out for the 4.3 km long circuit. On his soft tyres, the Thai driver set a 1m18.103. However, that was quickly beaten by Charles Leclerc 1m17.959. Sebastian Vettel then took over the lead with a time 1m17.639.

When the Mercedes drivers joined the action too, they showed immediately that their W11 dominates the field around the twisty Hungaroring. Following the first runs, Lewis Hamilton stood at the top of the timing sheets with a time of 1m15.984, beating his team-mate Valtteri Bottas by 294 thousands of a second. Demonstrating the power of the Mercedes-inspired Racing Point’s car, Sergio Perez was third-quickest.

Ferrari became the first team to send its drivers for a second run on fresh soft Pirelli tyres. After setting promising times in the first two sectors, Vettel’s SF1000 became nervous in the last part of the circuit, meaning that he could only set a time of 1m16.351. His teammate Leclerc quickly beat that time with a 1m15.781 that was enough to take over the lead for the moment.

After Ferrari began the qualifying simulation, the action sped up with every driver keen on fine-tuning their setup ahead of the qualifying session. In the end, Bottas managed to finish on top with a time of 1m15.437 ahead of his teammate Hamilton. The Briton appeared to be easily the faster Mercedes driver, but he made slight mistakes in the last sector on two of his qualifying simulation laps, depriving him of the chance of topping the session.

Perez ended up third fastest, demonstrating the mighty strength of his RP20. Red Bull drivers Max Verstappen and Alexander Albon were unable to take on the fight against Mercedes with the Thai driver suffering particularly in his RB16. George Russell delivered the biggest surprise in his Williams with finishing in the 14th place at the end of the session.

Results

Pos.No.DriverCarTimeGapLaps
177Valtteri BottasMercedes AMG1:15.437-18
244Lewis HamiltonMercedes AMG1:15.479+0.042s20
311Sergio PerezRacing Point BWT Mercedes1:15.598+0.161s16
416Charles LeclercFerrari1:15.781+0.344s19
518Lance StrollRacing Point BWT Mercedes1:16.033+0.596s15
633Max VerstappenRed Bull Racing Honda1:16.084+0.647s18
74Lando NorrisMcLaren Renault1:16.193+0.756s18
85Sebastian VettelFerrari1:16.351+0.914s18
910Pierre GaslyAlphaTauri Honda1:16.453+1.016s20
103Daniel RicciardoRenault1:16.508+1.071s14
1155Carlos SainzMcLaren Renault1:16.545+1.108s21
1223Alexander AlbonRed Bull Racing Honda1:16.582+1.145s19
1331Esteban OconRenault1:16.706+1.269s20
1463George RussellWilliams Mercedes1:16.847+1.410s23
158Romain GrosjeanHaas Ferrari1:16.866+1.429s15
1620Kevin MagnussenHaas Ferrari1:17.086+1.649s14
1726Daniil KvyatAlphaTauri Honda1:17.292+1.855s15
1899Antonio GiovinazziAlfa Romeo Racing Ferrari1:17.496+2.059s20
197Kimi RäikkönenAlfa Romeo Racing Ferrari1:17.527+2.090s25
206Nicholas LatifiWilliams Mercedes1:17.650+2.213s17