Max tops the board after final free practice in Australia
Published on 01 April 2023 by Mike Motilall
Max Verstappen was the quickest during the final free practice for the Australian Grand Prix. He was with a 1:17.565 well over a tenth-and-a-half faster than Fernando Alonso in second. Second runner up was Esteban Ocon, followed by George Russell. Pierre Gasly rounded out the top five. Max’ team mate at Oracle Red Bull Racing, Sergio Perez, had an off day. He wasn’t happy with the balance of his RB19 and locked up numerous times. He came in sixth fastest.
With an ambient temperature of about 14 degrees and a 22 degrees track temperature, it’s quite chilly in Melbourne. As oppose to the second free practice, this session gets underway in dry conditions. When it’s lights out, we see Max head out on track very quickly. He has strapped on the mediums on his RB19. His first timed lap is a 1:19.664. Sainz and Leclerc are both respectively six and four tenths faster on the soft compound and demote Verstappen to third. Then Max and the Ferraris take turns for the top spot. After fifteen minutes we see a Spanish one-two on the time sheet: Alonso slots in two tenths behind of Sainz.
After twenty minutes we see Perez on the asphalt again, he is the last man on track. The team spent some time working on his car. The Mexican is, just like yesterday, very unlucky with the traffic on track. During his first timed fast lap he is hindered by Nico Hulkenberg, who appears not to have seen the Red Bull-driver. Both Alpines have, by now, managed to get themselves in the top five. Halfway the session the order is as follows: Sainz, Alonso, Gasly, Leclerc and Ocon. Verstappen is sixth fastest. Max did his time on the mediums while the entire top five ran on the soft compound tyre.
Kevin Magnussen takes a short trip on the grass in the third sector but is able to continue on. Then the session is red flagged due to a component on track. It becomes clear that it came off of Nyck de Vries’ AlphaTauri. After a few minutes, the marshals have taken care of the issue on track and the session is resumed. Perez quickly heads out and has a free lap, but he locks up and ends up in the gravel trap. One lap later, he locks up again at the same spot, and is forced to abort his lap once more. On the radio he reports to the team that he is not happy with the balance of the car.
With thirteen minutes left on the clock, Zhou Guanyu loses control of his Alfa Romeo after the first corner. He spins and lightly brushes the wall and seems to have a lucky escape. Ten minutes before the end of the session, Max tops the board on the softs with a 1:17.565. During the final minutes of the session it starts to drizzle. When the time is up, the top five is as follows: Verstappen, Alonso, Ocon, Russell and Gasly. The day has gotten from bad to worse for Perez: he is too late to do a practice start and is pushed back into the pitbox by his team. Quite odd is it when Sainz hits the gravel trap, on his way back to the pits, after his practice start. With all this, the final free practice in Melbourne Australia comes to an end.
Contest Australian GP: win a by Max Verstappen signed World Champion 2022 cap!
Results third free practice Australia:
|1||Max Verstappen||VER||Red Bull Racing Honda RBPT||1:17.565||24|
|2||Fernando Alonso||ALO||Aston Martin Mercedes||1:17.727||+0.162s||26|
|3||Esteban Ocon||OCO||Alpine Renault||1:17.938||+0.373s||23|
|5||Pierre Gasly||GAS||Alpine Renault||1:18.094||+0.529s||23|
|6||Sergio Perez||PER||Red Bull Racing Honda RBPT||1:18.123||+0.558s||18|
|9||Lance Stroll||STR||Aston Martin Mercedes||1:18.198||+0.633s||22|
|10||Zhou Guanyu||ZHO||Alfa Romeo Ferrari||1:18.330||+0.765s||20|
|11||Nico Hulkenberg||HUL||Haas Ferrari||1:18.410||+0.845s||24|
|12||Alexander Albon||ALB||Williams Mercedes||1:18.553||+0.988s||21|
|14||Oscar Piastri||PIA||McLaren Mercedes||1:18.713||+1.148s||21|
|15||Valtteri Bottas||BOT||Alfa Romeo Ferrari||1:18.809||+1.244s||24|
|16||Yuki Tsunoda||TSU||AlphaTauri Honda RBPT||1:18.901||+1.336s||22|
|17||Logan Sargeant||SAR||Williams Mercedes||1:18.947||+1.382s||20|
|18||Kevin Magnussen||MAG||Haas Ferrari||1:19.056||+1.491s||26|
|19||Nyck De Vries||DEV||AlphaTauri Honda RBPT||1:19.092||+1.527s||23|
|20||Lando Norris||NOR||McLaren Mercedes||1:19.146||+1.581s||12|