Verstappen half a second clear of Mercedes in final practice

Formula 1 championship leader Max Verstappen set the pace in final practice at the Austrian Grand Prix, finishing over half a second clear of the Mercedes duo.
Verstappen half a second clear of Mercedes in final practice

Verstappen produced a 1m04.591s to end FP3 0.538s quicker than the fastest Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas, while his title rival Lewis Hamilton was over six tenths behind having had a lap time deleted for a track limits breach.

Hamilton’s best lap would have put him second had it stood, though he still would have been 0.4s adrift of Verstappen’s benchmark.

The seven-time world champion has committed to a new two-year extension with Mercedes that will see him continue in F1 until at least the end of 2023 in a deal that was announced on Saturday morning.

Verstappen’s pace will give Red Bull huge confidence heading into qualifying at Spielberg, with Mercedes appearing to be on the back foot in the forthcoming battle for pole position.

AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly was just six-tenths down in a strong fifth, while Antonio Giovinazzi posted an eye-catching time on the soft tyre to put his Alfa Romeo fifth.

Carlos Sainz was sixth-fastest for Ferrari, ahead of Sergio Perez’s Red Bull, the Alpine of Fernando Alonso and his Scuderia teammate Charles Leclerc.

Four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel completed the top-10 order for Aston Martin ahead of his teammate Lance Stroll, while Yuki Tsunoda ensured that 12 drivers finished within a second of Verstappen.

Qualifying for the Austrian Grand Prix gets underway at 3pm local time (2pm BST) at the Red Bull Ring.

Full results from final practice for the 2021 F1 Austrian Grand Prix.

George Russell (GBR) Williams Racing FW43B.
George Russell (GBR) Williams Racing FW43B.

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