Portuguese GP: Verstappen outpaces Mercedes duo in FP3

Red Bull's Max Verstappen set the fastest time in final practice for Formula 1's 2021 Portuguese Grand Prix, outpacing Friday pacesetters Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas.

Portuguese GP: Verstappen outpaces Mercedes duo in FP3

In overcast and cooler conditions compared to the Friday running, the drivers had to spend lots of time carefully preparing their tyres to get them in the correct temperature window with multiple warm-up laps on the low-grip surface at Portimao.

The final one-hour practice session was something of a slow burner, with most teams keeping their cars in the garage during the opening 10 minutes, leaving the two Haas drivers to trade the early fastest times.

Mick Schumacher set the P1 benchmark at 1m23.026s on the medium tyres, just before he spun off backwards running through the long, downhill right-hand final corner on his next slower lap.

He quickly got going from the low-speed incident and improved first place with a 1m22.77s before teammate Nikita Mazepin briefly took the top spot on the soft tyres until Schumacher improved again on his next flying lap with a 1m21.776s.

Just before the 15-minute mark, most of the rest of the pack joined the fray, with Kimi Raikkonen the first to try a flying lap on the softs, which he quickly had to abort for running too wide at the exit of Turn 1.

It was Yuki Tsunoda who finally pushed the Haas drivers off the top times with a 1m20.997s on the mediums before several drivers, led by Raikkonen, enjoyed a spell in first place as the benchmark continued to fall.

The Mercedes drivers completed just an installation lap during the opening 20 minutes, while Verstappen did not appear until just after Esteban Ocon had brought the fastest time down to a 1m19.672s on the medium tyres as the session's first third ended.

The Black Arrows cars and Verstappen then headed out for their first real runs straight on the soft tyres, but all three were initially frustrated by a brief virtual safety car, which was activated after an advertising hoarding that had blown over in the runoff beyond the final corner was re-erected by the marshals.

When green flag conditions returned after a couple of minutes, Charles Leclerc took first with a 1m19.001s on the softs, which was almost immediately beaten by Sergio Perez's 1m18.840s.

But that too was soon better, this time by Hamilton's 1m18.755s, just after Raikkonen had briefly brought out yellow flags with a quick spin exiting the Turn 8 double apex right, losing the rear as he got on the power exiting the corner's second part.

After a lull in action following the session's halfway point, Verstappen moved to the head of the times with a 1m18.545s, gaining time on Hamilton as the lap went on and jumping ahead with the fastest third sector.

There were few improvements at the head of the order as the final 10 minutes approached before Hamilton established a personal best but remained second – the gap to Verstappen cut to 0.180s.

But the Red Bull driver wasn't finished, as Verstappen put in a remarkable effort to set the session's fastest time, a 1m18.489s, but did not set any personal best or fastest overall sectors.

That put Verstappen 0.236s clear of Hamilton when the session ended, with Valtteri Bottas third 0.331s adrift of the top spot and Perez ending up fourth, just 0.02s slower than the second Mercedes.

Verstappen appeared to be going for one final flying lap in the dying minutes, but he had to back off after running beyond the Turn 1 exit track limits and then locking up and going deep at Turn 3.

Ocon gained time when he switched to the soft tyres during the session's second half and slotted into fifth, ahead of Leclerc and Carlos Sainz in the second Ferrari.

Lando Norris was another spinner, losing the rear of his McLaren as he got on the power early in the final corner with 15 minutes remaining and going off backwards before quickly getting going again.

He ended up eighth ahead of Pierre Gasly and Raikkonen.

Mazepin, who brought up the rear of the field and had a brief off beyond Turn 11 late on, as he lost the rear of his car running on the outside line around the slowly touring Perez and skating into the gravel as a result.

Cla Driver Chassis Laps Time Gap
1 Netherlands Max Verstappen
Red Bull 21 1'18.489
2 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton
Mercedes 21 1'18.725 0.236
3 Finland Valtteri Bottas
Mercedes 19 1'18.820 0.331
4 Mexico Sergio Perez
Red Bull 25 1'18.840 0.351
5 France Esteban Ocon
Alpine 19 1'18.860 0.371
6 Monaco Charles Leclerc
Ferrari 23 1'19.001 0.512
7 Spain Carlos Sainz Jr.
Ferrari 24 1'19.050 0.561
8 United Kingdom Lando Norris
McLaren 18 1'19.272 0.783
9 France Pierre Gasly
AlphaTauri 26 1'19.374 0.885
10 Finland Kimi Raikkonen
Alfa Romeo 26 1'19.415 0.926
11 Japan Yuki Tsunoda
AlphaTauri 25 1'19.485 0.996
12 Australia Daniel Ricciardo
McLaren 19 1'19.582 1.093
13 Italy Antonio Giovinazzi
Alfa Romeo 23 1'19.588 1.099
14 Spain Fernando Alonso
Alpine 20 1'19.949 1.460
15 Germany Mick Schumacher
Haas 22 1'20.033 1.544
16 Canada Lance Stroll
Aston Martin 17 1'20.090 1.601
17 United Kingdom George Russell
Williams 18 1'20.127 1.638
18 Germany Sebastian Vettel
Aston Martin 21 1'20.214 1.725
19 Canada Nicholas Latifi
Williams 19 1'20.681 2.192
20 Russian Federation Nikita Mazepin
Haas 20 1'20.690 2.201
shares
comments

Related video

Alfa Romeo asks FIA to review Raikkonen's Imola penalty
Previous article

Alfa Romeo asks FIA to review Raikkonen's Imola penalty

Next article

How F1 car safety changed forever after Imola 1994 tragedies

How F1 car safety changed forever after Imola 1994 tragedies
Why Red Bull’s RB17 hypercar can help its F1 team Prime

Why Red Bull’s RB17 hypercar can help its F1 team

On Tuesday, Red Bull laid out its plans to develop and build a new hypercar - the RB17 - penned by Adrian Newey. As the project itself sates Newey as a creative outlet, it also offers Red Bull's Formula 1 team a number of new and exciting avenues to pursue.

What to expect from Mercedes as F1 returns to Silverstone Prime

What to expect from Mercedes as F1 returns to Silverstone

OPINION: The British Grand Prix is a home event for Lewis Hamilton and George Russell, with their Mercedes team based just a few miles away too. But there’s another reason why the Silver Arrows squad is eager to arrive at Silverstone this weekend, which may help it fix its remaining problems with its 2022 Formula 1 challenger .

Inside AlphaTauri’s Faenza F1 factory Prime

Inside AlphaTauri’s Faenza F1 factory

AlphaTauri’s mission in F1 is to sell clothes and train young drivers rather than win the championship – but you still need a cutting-edge factory to do that. Team boss Franz Tost takes GP Racing’s Oleg Karpov on a guided tour of a facility that’s continuing to grow.

Formula 1
Jun 26, 2022
Connecting two of Ferrari's favourite F1 sons: Villeneuve and Leclerc Prime

Connecting two of Ferrari's favourite F1 sons: Villeneuve and Leclerc

Gilles Villeneuve's exploits behind the wheel of a Ferrari made him a legend to the tifosi, even 40 years after his death. The team's current Formula 1 star Charles Leclerc enjoys a similar status, and recently got behind the wheel of a very special car from the French-Canadian’s career.

Formula 1
Jun 24, 2022
How a 30cm metal wire triggered open warfare in the F1 paddock Prime

How a 30cm metal wire triggered open warfare in the F1 paddock

Porpoising has become the key talking point during the 2022 Formula 1 season, as teams battle to come to terms with it. An FIA technical directive ahead of the Canadian Grand Prix and a second stay appearing on the Mercedes cars only served to create a bigger debate and raise tensions further

Formula 1
Jun 23, 2022
Does Max Verstappen have any weaknesses left? Prime

Does Max Verstappen have any weaknesses left?

Having extended his Formula 1 points lead with victory in Canada, Max Verstappen has raised his game further following his 2021 title triumph. Even on the days where Red Bull appears to be second best to Ferrari, Verstappen is getting the most out of the car in each race. So, does he have any weaknesses that his title rivals can exploit?

Formula 1
Jun 22, 2022
How F1's future fuels can shape the automotive sector Prime

How F1's future fuels can shape the automotive sector

In 2026, Formula 1 plans to make the switch to a fully sustainable fuel, as the greater automotive world considers its own alternative propulsion methods. Biogasoline and e-fuels both have merit as 'drop-in' fuels but, equally, both have their shortcomings...

Formula 1
Jun 21, 2022
The breakthrough behind Sainz's best weekend of F1 2022 so far Prime

The breakthrough behind Sainz's best weekend of F1 2022 so far

OPINION: Carlos Sainz came close to winning in Monaco but needed that race’s specific circumstances for his shot at a maiden Formula 1 victory to appear. Last weekend in Canada, he led the line for Ferrari in Charles Leclerc’s absence from the front. And there’s a key reason why Sainz has turned his 2022 form around

Formula 1
Jun 21, 2022