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Max quickest at third free practice in Portimao

Published on 01 May 2021 by Mike Motilall

Max Verstappen topped the board at the third free practice in the run up to the Portuguese Grand Prix. With a 1:18.489 the Dutch Red Bull Racing-driver kept Mercedes running Lewis Hamilton at bay by two tenths. Valtteri Bottas and Sergio Perez finished third and fourth fastest. Esteban Ocon (Alpine) managed to secure P5 ahead of both Ferraris.

It’s about seventeen degrees and partially cloudy when the third free practice gets underway on Autódromo Internacional do Algarve. However, it’s a bit more windy. After well over twenty minutes, Max heads out on track. During his first stint he is on the soft compound tyres, but on his flying lap, when he was about to set the fastest lap time, a brief Virtual Safety Car-situation is triggered. Despite the fact that the tyre’s ideal momentum has gone, the Dutchman still takes P2 (1:19.141). Not much later, Perez and Hamilton better his time and Max is four tenths a stray from the British world champion.

During his second run, on a new set of softs, Max clocks a 1:18.545, earning him the fastest time and two tenths up on the rest. Apart from some deleted lap times, resulting from track limits having been exceeded or some off track excursions and harmless spins here and there, everyone is able to continue their running.

With still fifteen minutes to go, the Red Bulls and Mercedes opt for new soft tyres. Max fails to better his time during his first run. But Hamilton does, albeit by a bare minimum. Bottas shaves a bit off of his time and takes P3, dropping Perez one spot. On his second run, Max is flying in the first two sectors but loses some time in the third due to some oversteer.

The Dutchman straps in for another attempt and although his tyres are six laps old by now and he also hasn’t done any personal best sector times, he still manages to better his lap time to a 1:18.489 (P1). Hamilton comes in second fastest, two tenths a stray, closely followed by Bottas and Perez, who both are three tenths down on Max. With the top eleven all within one second of each other, qualifying looks to be a nail biting session which will start at 16.00 hrs. local Dutch time.

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Results third free practice Portugal:

1Max VerstappenVERRed Bull Racing Honda1:18.489 21
2Lewis HamiltonHAMMercedes1:18.725+0.236s21
3Valtteri BottasBOTMercedes1:18.820+0.331s19
4Sergio PerezPERRed Bull Racing Honda1:18.840+0.351s24
5Esteban OconOCOAlpine Renault1:18.860+0.371s19
6Charles LeclercLECFerrari1:19.001+0.512s23
7Carlos SainzSAIFerrari1:19.050+0.561s24
8Lando NorrisNORMcLaren Mercedes1:19.272+0.783s18
9Pierre GaslyGASAlphaTauri Honda1:19.374+0.885s25
10Kimi RäikkönenRAIAlfa Romeo Racing Ferrari1:19.415+0.926s25
11Yuki TsunodaTSUAlphaTauri Honda1:19.485+0.996s25
12Daniel RicciardoRICMcLaren Mercedes1:19.582+1.093s19
13Antonio GiovinazziGIOAlfa Romeo Racing Ferrari1:19.588+1.099s23
14Fernando AlonsoALOAlpine Renault1:19.949+1.460s20
15Mick SchumacherMSCHaas Ferrari1:20.033+1.544s21
16Lance StrollSTRAston Martin Mercedes1:20.090+1.601s17
17George RussellRUSWilliams Mercedes1:20.127+1.638s18
18Sebastian VettelVETAston Martin Mercedes1:20.214+1.725s21
19Nicholas LatifiLATWilliams Mercedes1:20.681+2.192s19
20Nikita MazepinMAZHaas Ferrari1:20.690+2.201s20