Max Verstappen quickest at third free practice in Saudi Arabia
Published on 04 December 2021 by Mike Motilall
Max Verstappen finished the third free practice in the run-up to the Saudi Arabia Grand Prix on top. The Dutch ace lapped the very fast Jeddah street circuit 20 times and clocked a 1:28.100 on the soft compound tyre which eventually proved to be the fastest time of the session. His rival for the title, Lewis Hamilton, was two tenths of a second slower than Verstappen and came in second, while Max' team mate at Red Bull Racing, Sergio Perez, clocked the third fastest time.
The sun slowly sets as the lights turn green for the third and final free practice on the 6.174 meter long Jeddah Corniche Circuit. Both Haas-drivers, Nikita Mazepin and Mick Schumacher, are the first ones out on the extremely fast street track.
Fifteen minutes into the session, Hamilton clocks the fastest time on the hard compound tyres. Right at that same moment, Verstappen makes for the track for the first time. On a set of the softs on his car, the Dutchman does two warm up laps before really getting down to it. On his first flying lap, Max clocks a 1:29.863, good enough for the third spot at that moment.
After cruising for a few laps, Max betters himself and takes second place. With a 1:28.649 he is three tenths of a second slower than Hamilton. Halfway the session, Max is still running around on his softs and manages to snatch the fastest time from Hamilton (1:28.212). After this lap Max heads back in to the pits. In the meantime Hamilton has impeded two other drivers. After hindering first Pierre Gasly at the first corner, he then impedes Nikita Mazepin who, running at high speed, had to evade the slowly driving Mercedes-driver.
After a short stay in the pits, Max ventures out again on the asphalt on a fresh set of the softs with still fifteen minutes remaining on the clock. The Red Bull Racing-driver improves himself yet again and secures his grip on the top spot. Max keeps stringing the laps one after the other and with still five minutes on the clock, he shaves off another five thousandths off of his time (1:28.100). After that he heads back to his team.
In the end, nobody is able to better Verstappen's time and he finishes the session with 20 laps to his name and at the top of the board. Hamilton ends up second quickest at two tenths down on Verstappen. Sergio Perez comes in third fastest closely followed by both AlphaTauris of Yuki Tsunoda and Pierre Gasly in P4 and P5.
At 18.00 hours, local Dutch time, qualifying for the Saudi Arabia Grand Prix will get underway.
|1||Max Verstappen||VER||Red Bull Racing Honda||1:28.100||20|
|3||Sergio Perez||PER||Red Bull Racing Honda||1:28.629||+0.529s||21|
|4||Yuki Tsunoda||TSU||AlphaTauri Honda||1:28.641||+0.541s||20|
|5||Pierre Gasly||GAS||AlphaTauri Honda||1:28.715||+0.615s||22|
|9||Esteban Ocon||OCO||Alpine Renault||1:29.177||+1.077s||19|
|10||Lando Norris||NOR||McLaren Mercedes||1:29.300||+1.200s||18|
|11||Fernando Alonso||ALO||Alpine Renault||1:29.418||+1.318s||21|
|12||Antonio Giovinazzi||GIO||Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari||1:29.590||+1.490s||20|
|13||Kimi Räikkönen||RAI||Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari||1:29.689||+1.589s||24|
|14||Daniel Ricciardo||RIC||McLaren Mercedes||1:29.717||+1.617s||19|
|15||Lance Stroll||STR||Aston Martin Mercedes||1:30.030||+1.930s||14|
|16||George Russell||RUS||Williams Mercedes||1:30.034||+1.934s||17|
|17||Sebastian Vettel||VET||Aston Martin Mercedes||1:30.296||+2.196s||15|
|18||Nicholas Latifi||LAT||Williams Mercedes||1:30.366||+2.266s||17|
|19||Mick Schumacher||MSC||Haas Ferrari||1:30.933||+2.833s||20|
|20||Nikita Mazepin||MAZ||Haas Ferrari||1:30.979||+2.879s||23|