FP3: Leclerc keeps Ferrari top, as Hamilton ends up in the wall
Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel secured another Ferrari 1-2 in Saturday’s final practice in Belgium, but the session was halted for 16 minutes after a high-speed crash for Lewis Hamilton. The world champion emerged unscathed, but heavy damage to his Mercedes could leave his qualifying participation in doubt.
It was just over halfway through the hour when Hamilton lost the back end of his car approaching Spa's Turn 12, after appearing to get a wheel on the kerb. He speared into the barriers, ripping the front-left corner off his W10. As the British driver hopped into the medical car, his forlorn machine was pulled out of the tyre wall and transported back to the pits.
FORMULA 1 JOHNNIE WALKER BELGIAN GRAND PRIX 2019
Practice 3 results
|1 Charles Leclerc LEC Ferrari||1:44.206|
|2 Sebastian Vettel VET Ferrari||+0.451s|
|3 Valtteri Bottas BOT Mercedes||+0.497s|
|4 Daniel Ricciardo RIC Renault||+0.768s|
|5 Max Verstappen VER Red Bull Racing||+1.106s|
Neither Hamilton nor team mate Valtteri Bottas looked able to challenge Ferrari’s ultimate pace, with Bottas third in the final order, half a second off Leclerc’s quickest time.
Daniel Ricciardo was a surprise fourth for Renault, beating former team mate Max Verstappen into fifth in the Red Bull. Verstappen’s new team mate, Alexander Albon, finished 20th, no doubt on a very different programme as he prepares for his rear-of-the-grid start tomorrow thanks to engine penalties.
Sergio Perez recovered from his Friday dramas, taking a strong sixth despite reverting back to the previous spec Mercedes power unit in his Racing Point. Hamilton ended up seventh, ahead of the Alfa Romeo duo of Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi. Toro Rosso returnee Pierre Gasly completed the top ten, after a small moment of drama with his left mirror.
So Ferrari maintain the upper hand at Spa-Franchorchamps. The big question now is how serious is the damage to Hamilton's Mercedes? If it needs a fresh chassis he'll be starting from the back of the grid...