After dominating the first two free practice sessions of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix on Friday, Max Verstappen confirmed ahead of qualifying. The Dutchman is ahead of Sergio Pérez and Fernando Alonso when Ferrari continues to question.
Max Verstappen is definitely at home in Jeddah! The double world champion tripled the lead in the third and final free practice session of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. In the last minutes of this last hour of preparation before the qualifying session, the Red Bull Racing driver set the benchmark in 1:28.485, pushing his teammate Sergio Pérez to 613 thousandths of a second. that is to say, an authentic abyss which leaves little hope for the competition as regards pole position in this second round of the season. As in Bahrain, the second strength in the paddock is Aston Martin. Indeed, Fernando Alonso moved up to third place but almost a second behind Max Verstappen. The performance of the Asturian is confirmed by that of his teammate Lance Stroll, who fails 26 thousandths behind the double world champion to finish fourth. Nevertheless, the competition is in touch.
Your FP3 Top 3!
We’re starting to see a trend here…🤪#SaudiArabianGP #F1 pic.twitter.com/GkQ8Wf7PL4
— Formula 1 (@F1) March 18, 2023
Hamilton raises his head, Ferrari does not dispel doubts
Indeed, from third to tenth place, there is not even three tenths of a second. After a complicated first day, Lewis Hamilton upped his game to settle in fifth position just ahead of Charles Leclerc. After completing nine laps on medium tires at the start of the session, the two Ferrari drivers waited the last five minutes to put on soft rubber, but it was only on a second attempt that the engine was a little more free, the speed peak of the Monegasque not lying. However, pushed back just over a second and a tenth from Max Verstappen, Charles Leclerc and Ferrari did not give the expected answers to the questions that arose after a paradoxical day on Friday. The tenth place of Carlos Sainz Jr, who returned 173 thousandths of a second to his teammate after making a small mistake on his best lap, confirms that nothing is certain on the side of Maranello.
WOW ESTEBAN! 😱
The Frenchman has a HUGE moment but manages to hold steady and keep going 😅😅😅
That was closed…….#SaudiArabianGP #F1 pic.twitter.com/Jbgxon33yw
— Formula 1 (@F1) March 18, 2023
Alpine in the right wagon
In addition to the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton and the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc, McLaren intends to make people forget a Grand Prix of Bahrain totally to be forgotten. Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri took seventh and eighth place respectively, only eight thousandths of a second apart. The two papaya orange single-seaters are followed by the Alpine of Pierre Gasly. The former AlphaTauri driver returned only three thousandths to the Australian, who was initially to recover his seat in the French team. Carlos Sainz Jr follows the tricolor pilot. George Russell and Esteban Ocon, eleventh and fourteenth respectively, will have to fight back in qualifying. A final free practice session which also confirmed the difficulties of an AlphaTauri team in which the tension is rising. While Yuki Tsunoda was content with 19th time without having fitted the soft tires during these 60 minutes, Nyck de Vries was spectators, the Honda engine of his single-seater having to be changed. The deal seems clear before the fight for pole position begins and Max Verstappen will be the man to beat.