Lewis Hamilton headed another Mercedes 1-2 in final practice for Formula 1's Spanish Grand Prix as Max Verstappen closed in slightly.

Hamilton remained on top in the final 60-minute practice session ahead of qualifying as he outpaced teammate Valtteri Bottas by 0.151s, while Verstappen reduced the gap to the dominant Mercedes to half a second.

Verstappen ended FP1 ninth-tenths adrift and improved that margin by a tenth by the end of Friday practice, before cutting the deficit to Hamilton to 0.515s in FP3 - the closest Red Bull has been all weekend in Barcelona.

After being hampered by continued cooling issues in his MCL35 on Friday, Carlos Sainz improved to an impressive fourth in final practice, lapping just over eight-tenths slower than Hamilton’s benchmark, marginally ahead of Racing Point’s Sergio Perez, who completed the top five.

Charles Leclerc was sixth-fastest for Ferrari, nearly a full second off the pace as he piped AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly and the second Racing Point of Lance Stroll.

Alex Albon was well adrift of Red Bull teammate Max Verstappen as he finished ninth, with Daniel Ricciardo rounding out the top-10 for Renault.

His Renault teammate Esteban Ocon was two-tenths behind in 11th but ended his session in the Turn 3 barriers after getting caught out by Kevin Magnussen and being forced to take evasive action which resulted in him spinning into the wall.

Magnussen had just overtaken Ocon while on a flying lap before he suddenly slowed in front of the Frenchman, who slammed on the brakes and spun to avoid hitting the rear of Magnussen’s Haas.

The incident brought out the red flags to prematurely end FP3 with four minutes left on the clock.

Sebastian Vettel was a distant 12th with the German’s recent slump at Ferrari looking set to continue in Barcelona after a difficult preparation heading into qualifying.

He was just 0.003s faster than Romain Grosjean’s Haas, with the Frenchman slipping back to P13 having failed to replicate the kind of rapid pace that saw him finish inside the top six in both practice sessions on Friday.

A late improvement lifted Kimi Raikkonen to 14th in his Alfa Romeo, with the Finn a tenth clear of Lando Norris’ McLaren, Daniil Kvyat and Magnussen.

Antonio Giovinazzi wound up 18th, only ahead of the two Williams drivers who once again propped up the timesheets in P19 and P20, with George Russell this time getting the better of teammate Nicholas Latifi.




Loading Comments...