Max Verstappen set the fastest time of the last free practice in Portugal on the Algarve track. The second time was set by Lewis Hamilton in a Mercedes, and the third by his teammate Valtteri Bottas. The first to hit the track was Lance Stroll in Aston Martin, but the first measured time was set by Mick Schumacher in Haas.
In the first ten minutes, only the drivers of Haas, Aston Martin, and Lewis Hamilton came out on the track. Schumacher had a little problem with the car but managed to stop before the gravel trap. After 15 minutes most of the drivers decided to get out on the track and started setting up fast laps.
Tsunoda set a ‘marker’ with a time just over 1 minute and 20 seconds, and the first lap under 80 seconds was set by Kimi Raikkonen in Alfa Romeo. A lot of drivers have decided to go into a fast lap with two warm-up laps before that so this is something to watch out for ahead of today’s qualifiers.
The reason for this was insufficient heating of the tires in one lap and a lot of drivers struggled to find the grip on the track.
After 25 minutes of training, the period of the virtual safety car was marked due to one advertisement that was not well attached, but after a few minutes, the session continued without any problems.
Immediately after that, Verstappen, who did not come out on the track at all in the first 20 minutes, set his first measured time and came in second place + behind Charles Leclerc. However, Perez very quickly set the time below 1 minute and 19 seconds and sat at the top of the standings.
Raikkonen had small problems in the fast lap, but passed without damage. Fernando Alonso had set a great time, but it was also annulled due to going out of bounds. In the new fast lap on soft tires, Lando Norris had a mistake in the rear sector, which damaged the tires a lot, so he immediately went to the pits.
As seen so far, McLaren is struggling a little more than in the first two races of the season. In other attempts, Verstappen, Hamilton, and Bottas failed to fix their times due to problems in the last sector of the track where there is not enough grip.
The first ten drivers were within a second of the lag so we can expect quite interesting qualifiers. There were no major events until the end of the training, except that Mazepin turned around, so the teams and drivers started preparing for the qualifications, which will take place from 4 pm.