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F1 Belgian GP: Raikkonen tops intriguing FP3, issues for Verstappen

Kimi Raikkonen heads up an intriguing FP3 session ahead of qualifying for the Belgian Grand Prix, as Max Verstappen suffers gearbox issues.
CLICK HERE for the full Belgian Grand Prix FP3 result

Kimi Raikkonen has topped an intriguing third free practice for the Belgian Grand Prix as Ferrari demonstrated vastly improved pace, while Max Verstappen's hopes of pole position could be dashed by technical issues.

With unusually high temperatures around the Ardennes region continuing to create headaches for teams, Raikkonen powered to the front of the pack with his super-soft tyre run in the closing stages, a full two tenths quicker than Daniel Ricciardo.

However, with Ricciardo going against the tide by setting his fast lap towards the beginning of the session and Mercedes keeping its cards close to its chest with Lewis Hamilton fifth and Nico Rosberg seventh, there are still questions to be answered ahead of what could be one of the most open qualifying sessions of the season.

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Either way, the large travelling Dutch contingent didn't get a glimpse of their hero Verstappen as technical problems – understood to be a gearbox problem – consigned him to the pit-lane throughout FP3.

Sebastian Vettel consolidated Ferrari's form with the third fastest time behind Raikkonen and Ricciardo, while Valtteri Bottas demonstrated substantially improved pace from Williams by claiming the fourth quickest time.

Having now accumulated 55 positions worth of grid penalties after three engine changes, Hamilton gave some glimpse at his form with the fifth fastest time, though it is expected he will do just one lap in qualifying to ensure he meets the 107 per cent requirement.

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Nico Hulkenberg split the Mercedes' in sixth place, with Felipe Massa, Sergio Perez and Romain Grosjean completing the top ten.

Elsewhere, Fernando Alonso was 11th fastest but will face grid penalties, while Pascal Wehrlein raised hopes of a Manor in Q2 with the 15th best lap.

Meanwhile, Esteban Gutierrez is under investigation for a blocking incident involving Wehrlein, the Manor driver forced to the grass as he came across the touring Haas at the top Eau Rouge. Similarly, Kevin Magnussen was also criticised for blocking Sebastian Vettel in an incident at Blanchimont.

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August 27, 2016 11:25 AM

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