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Max fastest in rainy FP3 in Zandvoort

Published on 26 August 2023 by Florence Cobben

Max Verstappen finished fastest in the third free practice at the Dutch Grand Prix. The incident-prone session at the rainy Zandvoort circuit was interrupted no less than three times by a red flag. In the final phase of the session, Max secured the fastest time of 1:21.631 by taking advantage of the drying track. George Russell drove his Mercedes to P2, while Max’s Oracle Red Bull Racing teammate Sergio Perez secured P3.

After the second free practice on Friday, it was announced that Daniel Ricciardo, driving for AlphaTauri, suffered a fracture in his metacarpal on his left hand after an unfortunate crash in the Hugenholz corner. The Australian had to swerve to avoid fellow countryman Oscar Piastri, who had crashed before him. Ricciardo crashed hard into the wall, and the impact of the collision knocked the steering wheel out of his hands. Red Bull junior Liam Lawson replaced Ricciardo for AlphaTauri. The 21-year-old New Zealander, who spent this season proving his mettle in Super Formula, made his Formula 1 debut this weekend.

It rained hard before the start of the third free practice, and the track was wet when the flag was raised. Lawson quickly took to the track to get used to the AlphaTauri car that he had never driven before. Max is quick to follow him out on track to the cheers of his home crowd.

Racing on wet tyres, Max loses control coming out of turn three but manages to avoid hitting the wall. Kevin Magnussen suffers a similar mishap, but is less lucky. The Danishman went out on intermediates, and spins on his out-lap at turn three. The Haas driver hit the guardrail with his left front wheel, breaking the car’s suspension. A red flag is raised. 

After a short pause, the green flag is waved once more. Max is immediately back on track on a set of intermediates, and the Dutchman sets a time of 1:25.107, securing P1. Zhou Guanyu spins in turn thirteen and his Alfa Romeo ends up in the gravel. The red flag is raised again.

Although the track is slowly drying up, the drivers still struggle to avoid the gravel. With just a quarter of an hour on the clock, Esteban Ocon goes straight across at the Tarzan corner. The Frenchman nicks the wall, but avoids any damage and can drive on. Sometime later Lawson spins at turn thirteen. The New Zealander grazes the wall, and a final red flag is raised. Shortly after the AlphaTauri gets moving again, and Lawson can head into the pits without any damage.

With just ten minutes to go, the session is restarted. Max improves his time to 1:21.631, driving on the intermediates. In his last flying lap, Max heads straight through the Hans Ernst chicane, forcing him to abandon his lap. Nevertheless, Max manages to close out the session as the fastest driver, followed by Russell and Perez. Fernando Alonso secures fourth, and Lewis Hamilton fifth.

At 15:00 Central European Time, the drivers return for the qualifying round of the Dutch Grand Prix.

Contest Dutch GP: win a 1:4 scale model Max Verstappen Dutch GP 2023 helmet!

Results third free practice Netherlands:

1Max VerstappenVERRed Bull Racing Honda RBPT1:21.631 18
2George RussellRUSMercedes1:22.010+0.379s18
3Sergio PerezPERRed Bull Racing Honda RBPT1:22.631+1.000s18
4Fernando AlonsoALOAston Martin Mercedes1:22.634+1.003s14
5Lewis HamiltonHAMMercedes1:22.723+1.092s18
6Alexander AlbonALBWilliams Mercedes1:22.750+1.119s19
7Oscar PiastriPIAMcLaren Mercedes1:22.892+1.261s20
8Valtteri BottasBOTAlfa Romeo Ferrari1:22.965+1.334s25
9Charles LeclercLECFerrari1:23.093+1.462s12
10Lando NorrisNORMcLaren Mercedes1:23.158+1.527s24
11Pierre GaslyGASAlpine Renault1:23.210+1.579s15
12Carlos SainzSAIFerrari1:23.438+1.807s17
13Yuki TsunodaTSUAlphaTauri Honda RBPT1:23.544+1.913s18
14Logan SargeantSARWilliams Mercedes1:23.570+1.939s20
15Nico HulkenbergHULHaas Ferrari1:23.640+2.009s20
16Esteban OconOCOAlpine Renault1:23.806+2.175s12
17Lance StrollSTRAston Martin Mercedes1:24.058+2.427s15
18Liam LawsonLAWAlphaTauri Honda RBPT1:26.343+4.712s26
19Zhou GuanyuZHOAlfa Romeo Ferrari1:28.482+6.851s9
20Kevin MagnussenMAGHaas Ferrari---1