FP3: Sainz narrowly leads Russell and Norris in action-packed final practice session in Singapore
Ferrari made it a clean sweep of all practice sessions as Carlos Sainz set the pace in a busy FP3, narrowly leading rivals George Russell and Lando Norris as the teams put the finishing touches on their preparations ahead of qualifying.
After a busy first day, where the drivers got to grips with the Marina Bay conditions, they returned for third practice looking to finalise their setups ahead of qualifying. However, with rain having hit the track earlier in the day plenty of the rubber laid down yesterday had been wiped away.
With FP3 held in unrepresentative conditions to what the drivers will face in qualifying and in the race, plenty opted to stay back in the garage to begin the day despite the green light being switched on.
The mediums were the main tyre of choice to start the day, but we saw a few bolt on the softs straight away. Two of those drivers on the softs were George Russell and Lewis Hamilton, as the former set the early pace with a time of 1m 32.883s to lead the seven-time world champion by 0.222s.
FORMULA 1 SINGAPORE AIRLINES SINGAPORE GRAND PRIX 2023
Practice 3 results
|1 Carlos Sainz SAI Ferrari||1:32.065|
|2 George Russell RUS Mercedes||+0.069s|
|3 Lando Norris NOR McLaren||+0.238s|
|4 Max Verstappen VER Red Bull Racing||+0.313s|
|5 Charles Leclerc LEC Ferrari||+0.316s|
As temperatures started to drop, the conditions began to become more representative to what the drivers will face in qualifying. This meant the drivers bolted on a set of softs for some qualifying simulation runs.
And once again it was Sainz who proved to be the fastest of the 20 drivers on track, with the Spaniard setting the eye-catching time of 1m 32.065s to lead Russell, in second, by 0.069s.
Norris continued to turn the track in his upgraded MCL60 and after briefly going fastest, he wound up third for McLaren. And, after a difficult first day and despite struggling with his upshifts for much of the session, Max Verstappen ended up fourth for Red Bull.
Charles Leclerc looked set to go quickest after setting the fastest first sector but a mistake in the second sector forced him to settle for fifth ahead of Hamilton in the Mercedes and Oscar Piastri in the McLaren.
Like his Red Bull team mate, Verstappen, Sergio Perez also struggled with his own issues in FP3 but wound up eighth, ahead of the Haas of Nico Hulkenberg, who continued to impress, while Yuki Tsunoda rounded out the top-10 for AlphaTauri.
The second Haas of Kevin Magnussen was 11th ahead of Alpine’s Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly in 12th and 15th respectively. Sandwiched between the French duo were the Aston Martins of Fernando Alonso and Lance Stroll.
Liam Lawson survived a spin at Turn 2 to go 16th under the watchful eye of Daniel Ricciardo on the AlphaTauri pit wall, while Alex Albon recovered from his engine issues in FP2 to finish 17th for Williams. Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu were 18th and 19th for Alfa Romeo, while Logan Sargeant brought up the rear of the field.
With all three practices in Singapore complete attention now turns to qualifying under the lights, as the drivers ready themselves to hit the Marina Bay track at 2100 local time.