Photo: FIA

Verstappen Quickest in Final Practice for Austrian Grand Prix


Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen reasserted his authority at the Red Bull Ring by beating Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas to top spot in final practice for the Austrian Grand Prix as Lewis Hamilton finished third, almost seventh tenths of a second behind the championship leader.

Hamilton had eclipsed Verstappen on Friday afternoon but in the last hour of practice befoe qualifying the Dutch driver again showed the pace that took him to an emphatic Styrian Grand Prix victory at this circuit last weekend.

After early running on the test tyre compound on offer from Pirelli this weekend, Verstappen took to the track on soft tyres and with his first flying lap he jumped to the top of the order with a lap of 1:04.941s just before the halfway mark.

Mercedes delayed the running on this weekend’s competition compounds until the final third of the session but when they did take to the track on soft tyres, Hamilton could only manage second place almost half a second adrift of Verstappen after taking too much kerb in Turn 1 and losing time on the long run up to Turn 3.

In the final 10 minutes of the session the front-runners went for a second qualifying sim and Verstappen impressively lowered the benchmark by four tenths with a lap of 1:04.591s.

Hamilton would have held second four tenths behind the Dutch driver but his late flyer of 1:04.994s was deleted due to running wide in the final corner.

Thus, Bottas was able to take second place at the flag thanks to his second quali sim time of 105.129.  

AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly finished fourth ahead of Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi and Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz.

Verstappen’s team-mate Sergio Perez had an inconclusive session. The Mexican ran hard tyres at the start off the session but when he bolted on softs he was only able to climb to seventh place at the flag.

Fernando Alonso finished eighth ahead of Charles Leclerc while the top 10 was rounded out  by Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel.

2021 FIA Formula 1 Austrian Grand Prix – Free Practice 3
1 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Honda 1:04.591 15 240.665
2 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:05.129 0.538 22 238.677
3 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:05.277 0.686 20 238.135
4 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri/Honda 1:05.280 0.689 27 238.125
5 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo/Ferrari 1:05.345 0.754 27 237.888
6 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 1:05.347 0.756 29 237.880
7 Sergio Pérez Red Bull/Honda 1:05.396 0.805 20 237.702
8 Fernando Alonso Alpine/Renault 1:05.434 0.843 23 237.564
9 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:05.484 0.893 35 237.383
10 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin/Mercedes 1:05.542 0.951 22 237.173
11 Lance Stroll Aston Martin/Mercedes 1:05.546 0.955 19 237.158
12 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri/Honda 1:05.561 0.970 23 237.104
13 Esteban Ocon Alpine/Renault 1:05.674 1.083 22 236.696
14 George Russell Williams/Mercedes 1:05.694 1.103 23 236.624
15 Lando Norris McLaren/Mercedes 1:05.700 1.109 23 236.602
16 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren/Mercedes 1:05.725 1.134 21 236.512
17 Kimi Räikkönen Alfa Romeo/Ferrari 1:05.747 1.156 31 236.433
18 Mick Schumacher Haas/Ferrari 1:06.078 1.487 26 235.249
19 Nicholas Latifi Williams/Mercedes 1:06.105 1.514 17 235.153
20 Nikita Mazepin Haas/Ferrari 1:06.289 1.698 28 234.500

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