German GP: Leclerc tops FP3, Mercedes off the pace

Charles Leclerc was fastest again for Ferrari in third practice for the 2019 German Grand Prix, outpacing the quickest Mercedes by half a second.

German GP: Leclerc tops FP3, Mercedes off the pace

Leclerc’s 1m12.380s lap, set during his second run on soft tyres, stood to the end of the session and was 0.264s faster than teammate Sebastian Vettel’s best.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen split the Ferraris with a 1m12.548s as Mercedes came up short. Valtteri Bottas was 0.510s off Leclerc’s benchmark time, while Lewis Hamilton was sixth overall, 0.585s down and slower than the Haas of Kevin Magnussen.

An overnight change in the weather as the sweltering heat gave way to thunderstorms made for vastly different track conditions, with ambients of 27C and a track temperature that hovered around 40C, well below Friday’s peaks. Even so, there was little urgency at the beginning of the session and 10 minutes passed before anyone set a timed lap.

Any suggestion that Ferrari’s relative strength might diminish in the cooler conditions was quickly dispelled by Leclerc, who went quickest of all in the initial running with a 1m12.736s he set during a six-lap stint on the soft-compound tyres. Vettel’s best effort on a similar run plan was half a second off.

At this point both Mercedes drivers were focusing on race simulations but Hamilton set a tidy time of 1m13.463s at the beginning of a 15-lap run on the softs. Bottas was just over two tenths shy on a similar run plan, although his stint began with an off-track moment at Turn 2.

Red Bull’s pace on the medium tyres was very respectable early in the session - or at least Verstappen’s was, since his best lap was marginally faster than the soft-shod Hamilton. Pierre Gasly, whose car was rebuilt around a new tub after his crash in FP2, was half a second adrift of his teammate after their first runs.

On the soft rubber Verstappen was even more punchy. While the Ferraris made incremental improvements on their second soft-tyre runs - Leclerc to 1m12.380s, Vettel to 1m12.644s - Verstappen split them with his 1m12.548s.

The Mercedes drivers continued to struggle to match Leclerc on their second soft-tyre runs as Bottas circulated half a second off the benchmark lap and Hamilton had a time struck off for violating track limits.

The results of the session will have generated more intrigue for Haas, which is attempting to benchmark its latest developments against the troublesome VF-19’s early specification by running Romain Grosjean with the Australian Grand Prix aero package. In FP2 Magnussen was 1.29s off Grosjean’s best, but in today’s cooler conditions he was initially over two-tenths faster than Grosjean over the course of a similar seven-lap run plan.

He then put in a 1m12.893s that was good for fifth overall while Grosjean was 10th fastest on 1m13.378s.

Behind Hamilton there was a substantial time gap as the latter portion of the top 10 came up nearly a second off the frontrunning pace. While Kimi Raikkonen was ‘best of the rest’ early on, he was trumped by late efforts from Gasly and McLaren’s Carlos Sainz.

Practice results

Cla # Driver Chassis Laps Time Gap
1 16 Monaco Charles Leclerc
Ferrari 18 1'12.380
2 33 Netherlands Max Verstappen
Red Bull 12 1'12.548 0.168
3 5 Germany Sebastian Vettel
Ferrari 18 1'12.644 0.264
4 77 Finland Valtteri Bottas
Mercedes 24 1'12.890 0.510
5 20 Denmark Kevin Magnussen
Haas 13 1'12.893 0.513
6 44 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton
Mercedes 22 1'12.965 0.585
7 55 Spain Carlos Sainz Jr.
McLaren 18 1'13.300 0.920
8 10 France Pierre Gasly
Red Bull 17 1'13.324 0.944
9 7 Finland Kimi Raikkonen
Alfa Romeo 18 1'13.351 0.971
10 8 France Romain Grosjean
Haas 15 1'13.378 0.998
11 11 Mexico Sergio Perez
Racing Point 15 1'13.476 1.096
12 27 Germany Nico Hulkenberg
Renault 19 1'13.496 1.116
13 23 Thailand Alex Albon
Toro Rosso 24 1'13.554 1.174
14 4 United Kingdom Lando Norris
McLaren 15 1'13.556 1.176
15 99 Italy Antonio Giovinazzi
Alfa Romeo 16 1'13.671 1.291
16 18 Canada Lance Stroll
Racing Point 15 1'13.672 1.292
17 26 Russian Federation Daniil Kvyat
Toro Rosso 21 1'13.767 1.387
18 3 Australia Daniel Ricciardo
Renault 20 1'13.816 1.436
19 88 Poland Robert Kubica
Williams 20 1'15.540 3.160
20 63 United Kingdom George Russell
Williams 11 1'15.824 3.444
shares
comments
Ricciardo doesn't share Hulkenberg's view on Renault progress

Previous article

Ricciardo doesn't share Hulkenberg's view on Renault progress

Next article

Brown: Sainz, Norris giving McLaren edge over midfield rivals

Brown: Sainz, Norris giving McLaren edge over midfield rivals
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Event German GP
Sub-event FP3
Drivers Charles Leclerc , Sebastian Vettel , Max Verstappen
Teams Scuderia Ferrari
Author Stuart Codling
Why Bottas feels the time has come to be “more selfish” Prime

Why Bottas feels the time has come to be “more selfish”

We’ve seen five distinct versions of Valtteri Bottas at Mercedes as he’s tried to fulfil his own ambitions while being a consummate team player – two difficult, competing missions which have been challenging to reconcile. Speaking exclusively to Stuart Codling, Bottas explains his highs and lows… and why he still believes he can be world champion.

Formula 1
May 15, 2021
How long can Verstappen and Hamilton keep it clean? Prime

How long can Verstappen and Hamilton keep it clean?

Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen have been evenly matched so far in the 2021 Formula 1 title race. Neither has been afraid to get aggressive against each other on track, teeing up an enthralling contest as the year unwinds. But how long will their battle remain clean? Jonathan Noble ponders that exact point

Formula 1
May 13, 2021
How Brabham’s one-hit wonder was boxed into a corner Prime

How Brabham’s one-hit wonder was boxed into a corner

The Brabham BT46B raced once, won once, then vanished – or did it? STUART CODLING reveals the story of the car which was never actually banned…

Formula 1
May 11, 2021
The changes Barcelona needs to provide a modern-day F1 spectacle Prime

The changes Barcelona needs to provide a modern-day F1 spectacle

Formula 1’s visits to Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya over recent years have been met with familiar criticisms despite tweaks here and there to the track to improve racing. With the 2021 Spanish Grand Prix largely going the same way, proper solutions need to be followed to achieve F1’s wider targets

Formula 1
May 10, 2021
Spanish Grand Prix Driver Ratings Prime

Spanish Grand Prix Driver Ratings

Often described as Formula 1's laboratory, the Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona gave the clearest demonstration yet of the pecking order in 2021. And it's the key discrepancies from that order which illuminate who is excelling, and who needs to hit the reset button.

Formula 1
May 10, 2021
How Red Bull's deja vu set Hamilton on the winning path in Spain Prime

How Red Bull's deja vu set Hamilton on the winning path in Spain

An aggressive first corner move from Max Verstappen appeared to have set the Red Bull driver on course for victory in the Spanish Grand Prix. But canny strategy from Mercedes - combined with the absence of Red Bull's number two from the lead group - allowed Lewis Hamilton to pull off a demoralising reversal

Formula 1
May 10, 2021
The Barcelona practice times that prove Red Bull has hidden pace Prime

The Barcelona practice times that prove Red Bull has hidden pace

Lewis Hamilton led the way in Friday practice for the 2021 Spanish Grand Prix, but there was one major encouraging sign for Red Bull. However, making good on that gain will require Max Verstappen to avoid repeating a mistake that left him well down the FP2 order...

Formula 1
May 7, 2021
Why McLaren doesn’t doubt Ricciardo can escape his ‘dark’ place Prime

Why McLaren doesn’t doubt Ricciardo can escape his ‘dark’ place

Three points finishes from as many starts represents a decent opening innings on paper, but Daniel Ricciardo has endured a tough start to his McLaren career - only magnified his teammate's excellent form. Yet both he and the team have good reason to expect a turnaround soon.

Formula 1
May 6, 2021