Verstappen breaks Mercedes’ dominance in FP3

Max Verstappen overtook Lewis Hamilton in the final free practice session in Saudi Arabia, before the actual match in qualifying. The Dutchman has set the best time of the weekend so far, 1: 28,100Although Mercedes has not reached its full potential yet.

Free Practice 3

The last free practice sessions have started with the precedent of the first race in history held in Jeddah moments before with Formula 2. A test that has convinced by its struggles and its parallels, although it remains to be seen if F1 is just as fun due to the dirty air given off by the premier class cars, in addition to being larger on such a narrow circuit.

The third session began with sunlight and has been darkening with the sunset in Saudi Arabia, although this has only been noticed in the drop in temperature of the track, since the light exposure of the Jeddah lights have illuminated even more the Saudi layout.

There have also been modifications for the rest of the weekend: the drivers will not be able to slow down on their installation lap between turns 23 and 25 for safety reasons. In addition, the white line at the pitlane outlet has been lengthened and the tire pressure increased by one psi.

In reference to the activity during FP3, Charles Leclerc has returned after his heavy impact suffered against the protection barriers at the chicane of turns 22 and 23 during the day on Friday. Good news for the Ferrari driver, whose SF21 has been able to be repaired.

The Mercedes took to the track for the first time on Saturday on the hard compound. In fact, Hamilton has starred in a strong braking pass in the first corner that has caused his left front wheel to finish square, although he has continued with his stint initial.

For its part, Red Bull has started directly with the softest compound. However, it took Max Verstappen over 20 minutes to beat Lewis’s time on soft nine-lap wheels. In response, the German navy has brought up the red shoes, although it has not reestablished its hierarchy in Saudi territory because it did not reach the optical temperature of the tire.

Highly dangerous circuit

Hamilton has been involved in two very unsafe actions. First, when braking at Turn 1, seriously hampering Pierre Gasly, who had to swerve from him towards the escape from the first chicane. Moments later, Nikita Mazepin found the seven-time champion in a very delicate and high-speed blind spot. We have almost not witnessed a very serious accident on a circuit that even the drivers themselves have questioned how it has been homologated by the FIA.

Aside from the scares that we will continue to witness, unfortunately, in qualifying, Verstappen kept the best time from the last practice session. Of course, the Red Bull has set his best time with the soft compound, while Hamilton, with the hard rubber, has only remained two tenths of the record of his rival for the World title.

As for the Spanish, Carlos Sainz was the eighth fastest rider in the last practice sessions on Saturday. The Madrilenian finished in the same tenth as his teammate Leclerc and a second off the lead. For his part, Fernando Alonso was 11th, surpassed by Esteban Ocon by three tenths. The battle to enter Q3 will be intense from 18:00 Spanish time.

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