After topping Friday's two practice sessions, double world champion Max Verstappen headed a Red Bull one-two in the third and final practice at the Spanish Grand Prix, posting the fastest lap of the weekend before the rain interrupted the action. F1Technical's Balázs Szabó reports on Free Practice 3 from the Barcelona-Catalunya track.
With only half an hour ahead of the session, clouds started to gather over the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, prompting teams to get ready for the start of the final practice.
When the lights switched to green, drivers were in a real rush to head out on to the track to make use of the dry conditions. It proved crucial as rain started to fall just ten minutes into the session.
Max Verstappen demonstrated his speed around the Barcelona track, setting the best time of the weekend with a 1m13.664s to head his teammate Sergio Perez.
Following a difficult Friday that saw Mercedes struggle for stability in the final sector, the team has made crucial setup changes to their heavily upgraded W14. The modifications seemed to have put the car into a better working window with Lewis Hamilton setting the third quickest lap only over a tenth of a second slower than Perez. His teammate George Russell had to settle for P6.
Ferrari drivers headed out on mediums at the start of the session, and both had to come in for the red-walled softs. Carlos Sainz was the faster Ferrari driver, ending up fourth quickest half a second adrift of Verstappen's benchmark. His team mate Charles Leclerc posted a 1m14.353s to end up seventh fastest.
With the rain and a red flag period caused by Logan Sargeant interrupting the running, drivers spent the middle part of the session in the pit.
However, when there was enough water on the track to use the intermediate tyres, Ferrari drivers headed out to get a view in the tricky conditions. The majority of the field racked up a series of laps on the green-sided tyres to get accustomed to the conditions should more rain arrive for the crucial qualifying session.
With the rain intensity decreasing for the dying minutes of the session, several drivers decided to switch back to the soft slick tyres with Charles Leclerc appearing to be the fastest, going only two seconds slower than what Verstappen was able to do in completely dry conditions.
|1||1||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing Honda Rbpt||1:13.664||13|
|2||11||Sergio Perez||Red Bull Racing Honda Rbpt||1:13.914||+0.250s||13|
|5||14||Fernando Alonso||Aston Martin Aramco Mercedes||1:14.264||+0.600s||13|
|8||77||Valtteri Bottas||Alfa Romeo Ferrari||1:14.360||+0.696s||14|
|9||22||Yuki Tsunoda||Alphatauri Honda Rbpt||1:14.659||+0.995s||15|
|10||4||Lando Norris||Mclaren Mercedes||1:14.681||+1.017s||19|
|11||24||Zhou Guanyu||Alfa Romeo Ferrari||1:14.681||+1.017s||14|
|12||21||Nyck De Vries||Alphatauri Honda Rbpt||1:14.693||+1.029s||17|
|13||18||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin Aramco Mercedes||1:14.756||+1.092s||14|
|14||27||Nico Hulkenberg||Haas Ferrari||1:14.988||+1.324s||11|
|15||81||Oscar Piastri||Mclaren Mercedes||1:15.105||+1.441s||16|
|16||31||Esteban Ocon||Alpine Renault||1:15.266||+1.602s||14|
|17||20||Kevin Magnussen||Haas Ferrari||1:15.534||+1.870s||11|
|18||10||Pierre Gasly||Alpine Renault||1:15.841||+2.177s||13|
|19||23||Alexander Albon||Williams Mercedes||1:15.851||+2.187s||13|
|20||2||Logan Sargeant||Williams Mercedes||1:16.529||+2.865s||5|