Max Verstappen bounced back in the third and final practice for the inaugural Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, beating defending champion Lewis Hamilton and his team mate Sergio Perez. However, the Briton is estimated to have the edge on the Jeddah Corniche Circuit based on his lap time on the hard compound.
Hamilton topped both sessions on the opening day in Jeddah despite using an older internal combustion engine. For the final practice, the Briton received his ’super’ engine that he used at the Brazil Grand Prix, and set the early pace on hard tyres but couldn't improve on his fastest effort of 1m28.314s when it came to using softs.
By contrast, Verstappen used two sets of soft compound in the final practice, as he has already used a set of medium and hard compound on Friday. The championship leader was working diligently on trying to switch on the soft compound for the first timed lap as this has been a difficulty for the majority of the field since the opening day.
The Dutchman enjoyed his soft-tyred running and eclipsed Hamilton midway through the session, improving to set the ultimate benchmark of 1m28.100s and leave his championship rival two-tenths behind in P2.
Behind the pair was Sergio Perez, who looked in peace with his car following his difficulties on Friday. The AlphaTauri pair of Yuki Tsunoda and Pierre Gasly finished fourth and fifth fastest, edging Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas.
Ferrari appeared to be in great shape regarding its long run pace, but lacked when it came to one-lap performance. The Scuderia seemed to be in better form today after working on switching on the tyres for the hot laps. Charles Leclerc, who sustained a huge crash in Free Practice 2, ended up P7, pipping his team mate Carlos Sainz.
Williams kept pace with the Aston Martins, George Russell taking 16th and his team mate Nicholas Latifi 18th. The Haas pair of Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin rounded off the timing sheets, six tenths adrift of Latifi.
|1||33||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing Honda||1:28.100||20|
|3||11||Sergio Perez||Red Bull Racing Honda||1:28.629||+0.529s||21|
|4||22||Yuki Tsunoda||Alphatauri Honda||1:28.641||+0.541s||20|
|5||10||Pierre Gasly||Alphatauri Honda||1:28.715||+0.615s||22|
|9||31||Esteban Ocon||Alpine Renault||1:29.177||+1.077s||19|
|10||4||Lando Norris||Mclaren Mercedes||1:29.300||+1.200s||18|
|11||14||Fernando Alonso||Alpine Renault||1:29.418||+1.318s||21|
|12||99||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari||1:29.590||+1.490s||20|
|13||7||Kimi Räikkönen||Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari||1:29.689||+1.589s||24|
|14||3||Daniel Ricciardo||Mclaren Mercedes||1:29.717||+1.617s||19|
|15||18||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin Mercedes||1:30.030||+1.930s||14|
|16||63||George Russell||Williams Mercedes||1:30.034||+1.934s||17|
|17||5||Sebastian Vettel||Aston Martin Mercedes||1:30.296||+2.196s||15|
|18||6||Nicholas Latifi||Williams Mercedes||1:30.366||+2.266s||17|
|19||47||Mick Schumacher||Haas Ferrari||1:30.933||+2.833s||20|
|20||9||Nikita Mazepin||Haas Ferrari||1:30.979||+2.879s||23|