Hamilton Quickest Ahead of Verstappen in Tight FP3


Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton edged Red Bull’s Max Verstappen by just two hundredths of a second to take top spot in a tight final free practice session for the Brazilian Grand Prix. Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc was third fastest, three tenths of a second further back.

Verstappen led the way in the opening half of the session with the Dutchman posting a time of 1:09.063 to sit almost four tenths of a second clear of Hamilton with Valtteri Bottas third.

With just under 20 minutes to go in the session Verstappen shaved four thousandths of a second off his best time but the Ferraris of Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc were already on track for their qualifying simulations and both brushed past the Red Bull driver’s first period benchmark with Leclerc taking over in P1 on a time of 1:08.611 with Vettel just five hundredths of second behind in P2.

However, three minutes later Hamilton and Bottas took to the track and Hamilton powered to the top of the order with a lap of 1:08.320 improving on his earlier time by over a second. Bottas, however, couldn’t find a similar improvement and his time of 1:09.224 was just three tenths better than his earlier time.

It was then the turn of the Red Bulls to do their qualifying simulations and Verstappen pumped in a fastest first sector to put pressure on Hamilton’s benchmark. The Red Bull driver lost out in the twisting middle sector however and he had to settle for P2 with a lap of 1:08.346, just 0.026s behind Hamilton.

Verstappen’s team-mate, Alex Albon, claimed P5 in the session with the Thai driver profiting from Bottas’ lack of significant improvement.

Albon endured a difficult Friday on his first outing at Interlagos, crashing out in FP1 and the failing to make the most of his qualifying simulation in FP2. And he again looked uncomfortable in FP3, complaining of trouble with his front tyres as he finished the session almost eight tenths of a second off his team-mate.

With Bottas sixth, best-of-the-rest honours were taken by Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat, with the Russian finishing 1.095 off Hamilton, though he was just five hundredths of a second ahead of Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi.

Ninth place in the session went to McLaren’s Lando Norris, with the rookie finishing just three thousandths of a second ahead of 10th-placed team-mate Carlos Sainz.

2019 FIA Formula One Brazilian Grand Prix – Free Practice 3
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:08.320 17 227.055
2 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing 1:08.346 0.026 18 226.968
3 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:08.611 0.291 20 226.092
4 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:08.664 0.344 22 225.917
5 Alexander Albon Red Bull Racing 1:09.136 0.816 17 224.375
6 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:09.201 0.881 20 224.164
7 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1:09.415 1.095 22 223.473
8 A.Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo 1:09.462 1.142 20 223.322
9 Lando Norris McLaren 1:09.585 1.265 18 222.927
10 Carlos Sainz Jr. McLaren 1:09.588 1.268 21 222.917
11 Kimi Räikkönen Alfa Romeo 1:09.619 1.299 21 222.818
12 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso 1:09.625 1.305 19 222.799
13 Nico Hülkenberg Renault 1:09.650 1.330 17 222.719
14 Kevin Magnussen Haas 1:09.713 1.393 18 222.518
15 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 1:09.761 1.441 17 222.364
16 Romain Grosjean Haas 1:09.798 1.478 20 222.247
17 Sergio Pérez Racing Point 1:09.995 1.675 19 221.621
18 Lance Stroll Racing Point 1:10.312 1.992 16 220.622
19 George Russell Williams 1:10.843 2.523 19 218.968
20 Robert Kubica Williams 1:11.205 2.885 23 217.855

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