After trailing Ferrari over one lap pace throughout Friday’s two practice sessions, Verstappen unleashed some eye-catching speed in FP3 to put Red Bull at the top of the timesheet. 

The reigning world champion was 0.354s clear of Ferrari pair Carlos Sainz and over six tenths ahead of Charles Leclerc, who suffered a high-speed spin. The Monegasque heads into the weekend 38 points behind Verstappen in the championship. 

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Sainz was again the faster Ferrari driver on Saturday ahead of qualifying, though the Spaniard will start Sunday’s grand prix from the very back of the grid after being hit with penalties for changing his power unit. 

Lewis Hamilton ended up fourth but the seven-time world champion was almost a full second off Verstappen’s benchmark, though he did manage to outpace the second Red Bull of Sergio Perez. 

His Mercedes teammate George Russell was a tenth further back in sixth, ahead of Fernando Alonso’s Alpine and Williams driver Alex Albon. 

Lando Norris and Yuki Tsunoda completed the top 10 order for McLaren and AlphaTauri respectively. 

At the other end of the order, Sebastian Vettel was slowest, three-tenths behind Mick Schumacher's Haas and Aston Martin teammate Lance Stroll. 

Qualifying for the French Grand Prix begins at 4pm local time (3pm BST).