Perez was 0.194 seconds quicker than early championship leader Leclerc, whose main title rival Max Verstappen was third after making a mistake on his final qualifying simulation run. 

It was a much stronger day for Red Bull after reliability issues restricted Verstappen to just five flying laps on Friday. 

Verstappen looked set to eclipse teammate Perez’s benchmark on his final soft tyre run until he suffered a half-spin coming out of Turn 14 after taking too much kerb. 

The reigning world champion just managed to keep his car out of the barriers but ended up 0.345s down as a result. 

Fernando Alonso was fourth fastest for Alpine, from Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel and Mick Schumacher, who impressed on his way to setting the sixth-quickest time in his Haas. 

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Carlos Sainz was over eight-tenths off the pace in the second Ferrari, while Kevin Magnussen, Alex Albon and Lando Norris completed the rest of the top-10 for Haas, Williams and McLaren respectively. 

After enjoying their most competitive showing of the season on Friday, Mercedes struggled for pace ahead of qualifying, with Lewis Hamilton and George Russell only 15th and 17th in the FP3 order. 

Both drivers appeared to struggle with overheating tyres, with Russell telling his engineer the “tyres are nowhere” after ending up nearly a second down on one of his soft tyre runs. 

Just like the previous two practice sessions, FP3 was also disrupted by a red flag when Esteban Ocon slammed into the wall at Turn 14. 

The Alpine driver was cleared after being taken to the medical centre as a precaution after the impact triggered the G-force limit. 

Alpine now faces a race against time to fix Ocon’s car in time to take part in qualifying, which begins at 9pm UK time. 

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