Max Verstappen was very strong with soft tires and socks
Sainz, three tenths behind the Dutchman
Alonso finished seventh
Max Verstappen led free practice 3 of the French Grand Prix with great solvency, as he was very competitive on the soft and medium tyres. Behind him, the two Ferraris, with Carlos Sainz second at three tenths and Charles Leclerc third, at six. For his part, Fernando Alonso finished seventh.
After a Friday at Paul Ricard dominated by Ferrari, the drivers took to the track for the last free practice session before qualifying. At the start of free practice 2, the asphalt was at 48°C and there was 28°C in the environment.
Sergio Pérez was the first to hit the track and he did so on medium tyres, followed by Magnussen on soft and the two Aston Martins on hard, so at the start of the session all compound options were open.
The first record was set by Pérez, who stopped the clock in 1’33″628. Later Magnussen closed the lap, which on soft tires was more than a second behind Red Bull.
Max Verstappen wasted no time either. The Dutchman posted the first 1’32 of the day on his first lap on medium tyres. Alonso also rode average and finished fifth, with a time of 1:33.623.
For their part, the Mercedes opted for different strategies in the first stint. Lewis Hamilton started on soft tires and moved up to fourth, 1.7s off Verstappen’s time, while Russell opted for hard tyres, despite not completing any timed laps.
In the absence of the Ferraris on the track, Verstappen was very strong and lowered his own time to 1:32.808. His teammate, Sergio Pérez, also improved and remained four tenths.
Alonso took a step forward and managed to finish third, well behind the two Red Bulls. A position that Bottas took away from him, who crossed the finish line behind him on soft tyres.
After the first twenty minutes of the session, the two Ferraris hit the track. Charles Leclerc rode on hard tires and finished sixth, 1’4 off Verstappen’s time. For his part, Sainz opted for soft tires and moved up to second position with a time of 1’33″217.
Regarding the middle zone, AlphaTauri has been very competitive after the updates introduced for this Grand Prix. Pierre Gasly, on soft tyres, is fourth, one second behind Verstappen.
Halfway through the session, track activity dropped considerably, with most drivers entering the pits to prepare for the second part of practice.
Lewis Hamilton was the first to leave. The Briton fitted a second set of soft tires and managed to move up to third in the table and close the gap to Max Verstappen to four tenths.
Both Ferraris have also fitted new soft tyres. Leclerc set the second fastest time of the day and was a tenth off Verstappen’s time and Sainz lowered his own time, despite being third.
Both Williams closed the round and improved considerably. Albon was sixth and Latifi seventh, both fitted with new soft tyres.
The Ferraris continued their progress. Carlos Sainz, with four laps of rubber, set the fastest time so far in 1’32″626 and placed first.
Ten minutes from the end of the session, the Red Bulls came out on soft tyres. All the drivers – with the exception of Magnussen and Vettel – chose to run on soft tires for the final stages in order to prepare for qualifying this afternoon.
Verstappen once again placed first on his first lap on soft tyres. The Dutchman lowered Sainz’s time by three tenths. The one who did not know how to improve Pérez, who only signed the fifth fastest time, one second behind his teammate.
As for Alonso, the Spaniard completed the lap and finished seventh on new soft tyres.
In the last minutes, the times did not change, so Max Verstappen closed the last free practice session as the fastest driver, although the two Ferraris followed him closely.
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