Max Verstappen set the fastest time in the third free practice for the Spanish Grand Prix ahead of Lewis Hamilton, and Ferrari drivers Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz finished third and fourth fastest for Ferrari. In his soft tire qualification simulation, Verstappen drove 1: 17.835, the fastest time of the weekend, which was enough for him to gain 0.235 seconds ahead of Hamilton before qualifying for the fourth race of the season in Spain.
Hamilton and Bottas held first and second place on soft tires while Verstappen was half a second slower on medium tires, but in other attempts Hamilton did not improve his time despite the best second sector as he came out too wide over the yellow curb on the way out of the penultimate turn and lost key acceleration to the starting target direction.
Bottas also made a mistake in that spot and didn’t fix his best time, but Verstappen in his first attempt on soft tires drove the fastest time with just 11 laps in third practice and brought Red Bull to the top for the first time this weekend.
Ferrari drivers and McLaren
Ferrari drivers Leclerc and Sainz continued their good performances in Barcelona and took advantage of the worse laps of Bottas and Perez to take third and fourth place with 0.473 and 0.575 seconds behind Hamilton.
Bottas was only fifth in the second Mercedes ahead of Norris as the faster McLaren driver who crashed in his second fast lap on a soft in the tenth turn after his best time in the second sector. Gasly managed to separate McLaren drivers in seventh place for AlphaTauri ahead of Ricciardo in second McLaren, and Raikkonen was ninth fastest for Alfa Romeo although he set his fast lap on soft tires very early while later had to box due to a cracked rear right tire.
Perez was slower than Verstappen in each of the three sectors and finished the only tenth with 0.771 behind, while Alonso was 11th for Alpine ahead of Tsunoda, Ocon, and Stroll. Russell once again highlighted Williams ’potential for Q2 with the 15th fastest time ahead of Vettel who didn’t drive a good lap on soft and Latifi in second Williams.
Schumacher and Mazepin once again took the last two places for Haas, and the German was 0.238 seconds faster than the Russians. Certainly this training in Spain has revealed a lot and we can expect an exciting season in the continuation