FP3: Leclerc heads Verstappen in final practice in Jeddah

By on
F1 Grand Prix, GP Saudi Arabia, Jeddah Street Circuitsa

Ferrari's Charles Leclerc topped the third and final session for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, beating his arch rival Max Verstappen as the intense battle between Ferrari and Red Bull continues on the Jeddah Corniche Circuit.

The session saw Ferrari start the action very early as the Scuderia was eager to make up for the time it lost in yesterday's afternoon practice. Championship leader Charles Leclerc and his team mate Carlos Sainz both hit the wall yesterday in the final minutes of the second session which forced them to limp back to the pits and sit out the important last phase of the session.

Leclerc posted the early benchmark in the final practice with Sainz registering the second best time. Scuderia’s drivers then went on to complete heavy fuel runs in the middle part of the session, searching for the best compromise between qualifying and race setup.

In the meantime, Max Verstappen took over the lead from the Monegasque with a commanding lead of just under four tenths of a second.

When the drivers headed out with their second fresh set of fresh soft tyres, Leclerc beat Verstappen’s bechmark, posting a 1m29.735s at the very end of the final hour of practice to end up just 0.033s clear of reigning F1 world champion Verstappen.

The Dutchman was actually on a significantly better lap, but he made a mistake, running over the kerbs at Turn 20, which forced him to abort his lap. Verstappen ended up 0.033s adrift of Leclerc's benchmark, beating his team mate Sergio Perez by just a fraction of time.

Sainz took fourth, followed by Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas. AlphaTauri showed good speed with Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda finishing P7 and P10 respectively, but the Frenchman endured a relibaility issue which forced him to park his car at the exit of the pit lane.

Haas Ferrari continued its impressive form in the final practice. Kevin Magnussen, who could hardly complete any laps yesterday due to reliability problems on a track that is new to him, set the eighth fastest lap time. His team mate Mick Schumacher ended up P12.

Mercedes’ problems continued as Lewis Hamilton could only set a time good enough for 11th, while teammate George Russell was a lowly 14th, a further three-tenths back.

It was another difficult session for McLaren. Daniel Ricciardo was 16th while his team mate Lando Norris set only the 19th fastest lap in the second McLaren, having encountered traffic on one of his fast laps,


116Charles LeclercFerrari1:29.73522
21Max VerstappenRed Bull Racing Rbpt1:29.768+0.033s11
311Sergio PerezRed Bull Racing Rbpt1:29.833+0.098s15
455Carlos SainzFerrari1:30.009+0.274s21
577Valtteri BottasAlfa Romeo Ferrari1:30.030+0.295s21
631Esteban OconAlpine Renault1:30.139+0.404s15
710Pierre GaslyAlphatauri Rbpt1:30.148+0.413s11
820Kevin MagnussenHaas Ferrari1:30.262+0.527s17
914Fernando AlonsoAlpine Renault1:30.296+0.561s16
1022Yuki TsunodaAlphatauri Rbpt1:30.415+0.680s18
1144Lewis HamiltonMercedes1:30.707+0.972s17
1247Mick SchumacherHaas Ferrari1:30.765+1.030s16
1324Zhou GuanyuAlfa Romeo Ferrari1:30.946+1.211s19
1463George RussellMercedes1:30.983+1.248s14
1518Lance StrollAston Martin Aramco Mercedes1:31.067+1.332s17
163Daniel RicciardoMclaren Mercedes1:31.186+1.451s15
1723Alexander AlbonWilliams Mercedes1:31.374+1.639s15
1827Nico HulkenbergAston Martin Aramco Mercedes1:31.424+1.689s17
194Lando NorrisMclaren Mercedes1:31.529+1.794s16
206Nicholas LatifiWilliams Mercedes1:31.992+2.257s13