RACE DEBRIEF

    Lewis Hamilton set the fastest time in the final practice session of the Belgian Grand Prix with Esteban Ocon and Lando Norris second and third respectively, but Ferrari’s struggles continued at Spa with Sebastian Vettel last and Charles Leclerc only 17th.

    Low fuel runs came thick and fast with five minutes of the session remaining and soft tyres were used by all for their fastest laps, with this hour-long final practice session preceding what should be an absorbing – and perhaps wet – qualifying session at 1500 local time.

    READ MORE: Friday Pace Analysis: Can Verstappen take the fight to Mercedes at Spa?

    Hamilton set his fastest time of 1m43.255s to finish first at the end of the session, with team mate Valtteri Bottas sliding at La Source on his way to P5, 0.558s off the pace. Bottas had set the pace on medium tyres with a fastest time of 1m43.813s on medium tyres halfway through the session, however.

    Second-place Renault driver Esteban Ocon set a blisteringly fast first sector to finish 0.230s off Hamilton and ahead of McLaren’s Lando Norris, with Alex Albon fourth for the second time this weekend – under half a second behind Hamilton.

    Formula 1 Rolex Belgian Grand Prix 2020

    Belgium 2020

    Practice 3 results

    POSITION TIME
    1 Lewis Hamilton HAM Mercedes 1:43.255
    2 Esteban Ocon OCO Renault +0.230s
    3 Lando Norris NOR McLaren +0.386s
    4 Alexander Albon ALB Red Bull Racing +0.476s
    5 Valtteri Bottas BOT Mercedes +0.558s

    With everyone emerging at the same time for one last attack at the end of FP3, traffic hampered many drivers as they struggled to get clear air for their runs.

    Max Verstappen was second-fastest on medium tyres but when he switched to softs, he could only manage sixth, 0.641s off the pace. Behind him was former team mate Daniel Ricciardo for Renault, under a tenth slower to finish P7.

    READ MORE: FIA outline proposed downforce changes for 2021

    Lance Stroll, eighth, was 0.733s off the pace and 0.02s faster than McLaren’s Carlos Sainz, who split the Racing Points in ninth. Sergio Perez was fourth-fastest on hard tyres but slumped to 10th on softs having made a mistake on his final flying effort. He was summoned to the stewards post-FP3 and given a warning for impeding Romain Grosjean.

    The AlphaTauris were competitive on mediums with Pierre Gasly and Daniil Kvyat lining up 11th and 12th, respectively, ahead of Williams’ Nicholas Latifi.

    FP3 Highlights: 2020 Belgian Grand Prix

    Haas wasted no time with Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean emerging instantly in FP3. They completed just over 10 laps each on Friday with engine problems in FP1. This time around, their session was much smoother and they finished 14th and 15th, Magnussen 0.003s faster than Grosjean.

    IDEAL LAP: How much scope is there for Ferrari to improve after Friday practice?

    Ex-Ferrari Belgian Grand Prix winner Kimi Raikkonen finished 16th for Alfa Romeo, which meant that Ferrari were slower than their customer teams as Leclerc could only take 17th and Vettel an astonishing last-place – an incredible result given they topped this session at this race with a 1-2 last year. Williams’ George Russell and Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi both finished ahead of Vettel in 18th and 19th.

    After winning the 2019 Belgian Grand Prix with Leclerc, Ferrari's slump is extraordinary. Can they salvage anything in qualifying this afternoon? F1.com will have live coverage of the session so you don't miss a thing...