FP3: Hamilton leads another Mercedes 1-2 to prove the team's superior form

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Spain, Circuit de Catalunyaes

After Mercedes dominated the opening day of the Spanish Grand Prix on Friday, the Anglo-German team continued its unbeatable form courtesy of Lewis Hamilton. Valtteri Bottas finished a tenth behind his team-mate ahead of Red Bull's Max Verstappen.

Despite the nice and sunny weather, drivers were waiting long in the garages before hitting the Barcelona-Catalunya track. Lando Norris posted the first time lap with his McLaren, putting a time of 1m19.620 on the board on the medium compound.

Alfa Romeo driver Kimi Räikkönen and Antonio Giovinazzi were the next to join the track action. On the red-walled soft tyres, the Finn flew to the top, posting a time of 1m19.521. On the medium, Charles Leclerc brought his Ferrari to the top of the timing sheets, setting a time of 1’18.950.

Despite both making mistakes in the final sectors, the Mercedes drivers Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton jumped to the front with the Finn having the edge over his team-mate. Bottas’ lap time of 1’17.971 was 1.2 seconds slower than yesterday’s best which was not surprising given the higher ambient and track temperatures.

The McLaren duo became the first drivers to use their second fresh set of tyres in the session. While Lando Norris made a mistake in the final sector, losing control of the back end of his McLaren, Carlos Sainz’s effort saw him post a time of 1’18.046, ending the session fourth fastest.

Ferrari was once again losing a huge chunk of time in the opening part of the 4655-metre track. Leclerc finished the final session in the sixth place, a second off the pace. Vettel finished down in 12th, losing time in the second and third sector to his team-mate.

With a late time attack, Racing Point’s Sergio Perez improved his previous best time to 1’18.096 to finish the session in fifth spot. In the meantime, Ferrari-powered cars continued to show more convincing pace than in the previous rounds. Haas driver Romain Grosjean set the 13th fastest time while Alfa Romeo Orlen’s Kimi Räikkönen finished 14th fastest with both ending the session within a tenth of Vettel.

After stepping aside to hand over his car to Roy Nissany in FP1, George Russell felt more comfortable in his Williams FW43 and beat his team-mate Nicholas Latifi, but his effort was only enough for the 19th position.

The session was brought to an early end after Esteban Ocon crashed his Renault into the walls at Turn 3. The Frenchman found himself behind the slow-moving Kevin Magnussen on the short straight between Turn 3 and 4. Ocon was desperate to dodge the Dane driver, but he spun and hit the wall on the right-hand-side, ripping off his front wing.

Results

Pos.No.DriverCarTimeGapLaps
144Lewis HamiltonMERCEDES1:17.222-12
277Valtteri BottasMERCEDES1:17.373+0.151s13
333Max VerstappenRED BULL RACING HONDA1:17.737+0.515s10
455Carlos SainzMCLAREN RENAULT1:18.046+0.824s18
511Sergio PerezRACING POINT BWT MERCEDES1:18.096+0.874s16
616Charles LeclercFERRARI1:18.193+0.971s15
710Pierre GaslyALPHATAURI HONDA1:18.211+0.989s13
818Lance StrollRACING POINT BWT MERCEDES1:18.309+1.087s16
923Alexander AlbonRED BULL RACING HONDA1:18.371+1.149s13
103Daniel RicciardoRENAULT1:18.384+1.162s12
1131Esteban OconRENAULT1:18.602+1.380s18
125Sebastian VettelFERRARI1:18.707+1.485s15
138Romain GrosjeanHAAS FERRARI1:18.710+1.488s14
147Kimi RäikkönenALFA ROMEO RACING FERRARI1:18.721+1.499s11
154Lando NorrisMCLAREN RENAULT1:18.803+1.581s23
1626Daniil KvyatALPHATAURI HONDA1:18.852+1.630s15
1720Kevin MagnussenHAAS FERRARI1:18.940+1.718s15
1899Antonio GiovinazziALFA ROMEO RACING FERRARI1:19.175+1.953s13
1963George RussellWILLIAMS MERCEDES1:19.297+2.075s16
206Nicholas LatifiWILLIAMS MERCEDES1:19.764+2.542s16