Verstappen tops final practice ahead of qualifying

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After his problems during the second Friday practice, Red Bull's Max Verstappen bounced back in the third and final practice session to set the pace, beating McLaren's Lando Norris.

When the lights went green, drivers were in no rush to commence their final preparation for this afternoon’s qualifying session. Conditions were very similar to those experienced on Friday with the air temperatures only recording 14 Celsius degrees.

Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Räikkönen was the first driver to venture out to the Imola race course, recording a 1m17.331 on Pirelli’s Medium compound. Just a few minutes later, Ferrari’s Monegasque driver Leclerc posted 1m16.765 to go fastest with his team mate Carlos Sainz setting the second fastest lap. Red Bull’s new recruit Serigo Perez then raised the bar further by posting a 1m16.642 on the yellow-banded rubber.

Yesterday’s dominant force, the Mercedes drivers were late to join the action. When the Silver Arrows rolled out of the box, they opted right away for the soft tyres in order to acquire information about the red-walled compound that they were unable to use properly on Friday. On the softest compound available at Imola, Valtteri Bottas posted a 1m16.402, but his time was deleted as he exceeded the track limits at Turn 9.

The session was red-flagged when Williams driver Nicholas Latifi got it wrong at the Variante Villeneuve, but the Canadian managed to climb out of the gravel trap and limped back to the pits.

During the final stages of the session, every driver used a set of fresh soft compound to get a feel for the all-important qualifying session. Max Verstappen was the first driver to dip into the 1m14s with his late charge on the red-walled compound.

Following their low-key showing on Friday, McLaren’s Lando Norris put in a great effort to post a 1m15.414 to finish the session behind the Dutchman. Lewis Hamilton ended up third fastest with his best lap time over half a second slower than Verstappen’s fastest lap.

Pos.No.DriverCarTimeGapLaps
133Max VerstappenRED BULL RACING HONDA1:14.958-18
24Lando NorrisMCLAREN MERCEDES1:15.414+0.456s17
344Lewis HamiltonMERCEDES1:15.515+0.557s18
411Sergio PerezRED BULL RACING HONDA1:15.551+0.593s18
516Charles LeclercFERRARI1:15.738+0.780s21
610Pierre GaslyALPHATAURI HONDA1:15.890+0.932s22
755Carlos SainzFERRARI1:15.908+0.950s21
877Valtteri BottasMERCEDES1:15.908+0.950s19
914Fernando AlonsoALPINE RENAULT1:16.186+1.228s20
1031Esteban OconALPINE RENAULT1:16.228+1.270s20
1122Yuki TsunodaALPHATAURI HONDA1:16.230+1.272s20
1218Lance StrollASTON MARTIN MERCEDES1:16.245+1.287s19
133Daniel RicciardoMCLAREN MERCEDES1:16.253+1.295s17
145Sebastian VettelASTON MARTIN MERCEDES1:16.389+1.431s19
1563George RussellWILLIAMS MERCEDES1:16.427+1.469s20
1647Mick SchumacherHAAS FERRARI1:16.448+1.490s22
176Nicholas LatifiWILLIAMS MERCEDES1:16.537+1.579s15
1899Antonio GiovinazziALFA ROMEO RACING FERRARI1:16.612+1.654s22
197Kimi RäikkönenALFA ROMEO RACING FERRARI1:16.803+1.845s23
209Nikita MazepinHAAS FERRARI1:17.398+2.440s23