FP3: Verstappen leads Hamilton and the two Ferraris in final practice in Barcelona
For the first time this weekend Red Bull showed their pace as Max Verstappen set the fastest time in final practice in Spain, finishing the session ahead of title rival Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari's Charles Leclerc at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
With less than 10 minutes remaining, Verstappen used the soft tyres to set the fastest middle sector for a time of 1m 17.835s, to go 0.235s faster than Hamilton's existing benchmark.
READ MORE: 5 things we learned from Friday practice for the Spanish Grand Prix
Ferrari's Charles Leclerc was 0.238s behind Hamilton in P3, and Carlos Sainz followed in fourth, another tenth off his team mate as the Scuderia continued their improving form this season.
That left Valtteri Bottas fifth, 0.588s off his team mate's pace – while Sergio Perez was down in 10th, 0.771s behind his Red Bull team mate Verstappen.
FORMULA 1 ARAMCO GRAN PREMIO DE ESPAÑA 2021
Practice 3 results
|1 Max Verstappen VER Red Bull Racing||1:17.835|
|2 Lewis Hamilton HAM Mercedes||+0.235s|
|3 Charles Leclerc LEC Ferrari||+0.473s|
|4 Carlos Sainz SAI Ferrari||+0.575s|
|5 Valtteri Bottas BOT Mercedes||+0.588s|
McLaren's Lando Norris finished sixth, behind Bottas, though Norris went off at Turn 10 with just over 10 minutes remaining, covering his set of softs in gravel and dust. Daniel Ricciardo was under a tenth behind his team mate, finishing eighth overall. The pair were split by AlphaTauri's Pierre Gasly.
Kimi Raikkonen's early lap put him ninth overall, though the Finn suffered a right-rear puncture just before Norris's Turn 10 excursion.
Home racer Fernando Alonso of Alpine finished 11th in this session. He was first out on track in the session, using medium tyres before a switch to softs for his benchmark time.
AlphaTauri had rookie Yuki Tsunoda 12th ahead of Alpine's Esteban Ocon.
Aston Martin's Lance Stroll finished 14th and his four-time champion team mate Sebastian Vettel 17th, between them 15th-place George Russell of Williams and 16th-place Alfa Romeo driver Antonio Giovinazzi.
Nicholas Latifi finished 18th and the Haas pair rounded out the table, Nikita Mazepin in P20 for the third time this weekend behind Mick Schumacher.
Qualifying is up next as Verstappen, Hamilton and Bottas vie to become the first repeat pole-sitter of 2021. Will someone else crash the party? Find out with F1.com's live coverage beginning at 1430 local time.