Red Bull's Max Verstappen came out on top in the third and final practice session for the Belgian Grand Prix, mastering the tricky rainy, damp conditions in the best way to finish a second ahead of his team mate Sergio Perez.
Rain and damp conditions seem to dictate the rhythm of this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix. While drivers enjoyed a mostly dry FP1 and FP2 on the opening day of the weekend, today’s final practice took place in damp conditions.
The intensity of rainfall was so high in the morning that the start of the first FIA F3 race needed to be delayed before the junior drivers could complete their first race of the weekend. The rain stopped during the F3 race and conditions started to improve, but it was still damp and cold when the final F1 practice got underway.
Although it seemed at a point that drivers might even be able to finish the session on Pirelli’s dry weather tyres, but that did not materialize as a brief rain shower arrived with twenty minutes left on the clock.
Most of the drivers completed only a few laps to save their cars even if qualifying could take place in similarly changeable and unpredictable conditions.
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen topped the final practice, setting a time of 1m56.924 on Pirelli’s intermediate tyres. The Dutchman, who was born just 100km away from Spa in Hasselt, was followed by his team mate Sergio Perez with the Mexican going almost a full second slower.
Defending champion Lewis Hamilton only finished in P3, but he was comfortably the quiekest when he was on the track with the Red Bull duo circling around the 7.004km Spa track later in much better conditions.
Despite the different conditions, the Alpine and Aston Martin drivers continued where they left off yesterday with Esteban Ocon, Fernando Alonso, Sebastian Vettel and Lance Stroll all finishing inside the top 10.
Ferrari’s SF21 did not like the conditions with both drivers having a series of sudden snap of oversteer during the session. Carlos Sainz finished in P14 while his team mate Charles Leclerc, who is using a back-up Ferrari chassis after Belgian GP practice crash, ended up in P16.
While Pierre Gasly finished in P7, his team mate Yuki Tsunoda took only 17th in this session ahead of the Alfa Romeo of Antonio Giovinazzi, leaving Mazepin 19th. In last was Kimi Raikkonen, suspected brake issues keeping him in the Alfa Romeo garage for much of the session.
|1||33||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing Honda||1:56.924||10|
|2||11||Sergio Perez||Red Bull Racing Honda||1:57.871||+0.947s||7|
|4||4||Lando Norris||Mclaren Mercedes||1:58.509||+1.585s||11|
|5||31||Esteban Ocon||Alpine Renault||1:58.913||+1.989s||15|
|6||18||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin Mercedes||1:59.205||+2.281s||16|
|7||10||Pierre Gasly||Alphatauri Honda||1:59.324||+2.400s||14|
|8||5||Sebastian Vettel||Aston Martin Mercedes||1:59.436||+2.512s||15|
|9||63||George Russell||Williams Mercedes||1:59.492||+2.568s||9|
|10||14||Fernando Alonso||Alpine Renault||1:59.613||+2.689s||16|
|12||6||Nicholas Latifi||Williams Mercedes||1:59.981||+3.057s||11|
|13||3||Daniel Ricciardo||Mclaren Mercedes||2:00.456||+3.532s||13|
|15||47||Mick Schumacher||Haas Ferrari||2:01.269||+4.345s||18|
|17||22||Yuki Tsunoda||Alphatauri Honda||2:01.510||+4.586s||20|
|18||99||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari||2:01.512||+4.588s||20|
|19||9||Nikita Mazepin||Haas Ferrari||2:01.792||+4.868s||19|
|20||7||Kimi Räikkönen||Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari||2:04.382||+7.458s||3|