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FP3: Hamilton leads Verstappen and Russell during final practice in Canada

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MONTREAL, QUEBEC - JUNE 08: Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain driving the (44) Mercedes AMG Petronas

Lewis Hamilton topped the times with an eye-catching performance during Saturday’s third and final practice session for the Canadian Grand Prix, leading Red Bull rival Max Verstappen and Mercedes team mate George Russell in much improved conditions.

After two rain-hit practice sessions on Friday, all eyes were on the skies when drivers returned to the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve for the 1230 local time outing, with bright and warm weather bringing the first proper slick-tyre running of the event so far.

PRACTICE DEBRIEF: Why mixed conditions in Montreal mean it’s all to play for heading into the weekend

However, those slicks could well be replaced by intermediates and wets once more as the weekend wears on, with further rain showers expected in the build-up to qualifying later on Saturday and ahead of Sunday afternoon’s Grand Prix.

With Verstappen’s first day of running also hindered by technical problems, which kept him in the garage for a chunk of FP2, the Dutchman was one of the first drivers to head out on track and get some laps on the board – surviving an early scare at the final chicane.

Struggling to keep hold of his car under braking and upon corner entry, Verstappen took to the run-off and bounced over the sizeable orange kerbs, after which he lamented over the radio: “The whole weekend already, this steering… super weird for me!”

Canada 2024

Practice 3 results

PositionTeam NameTime
1HAM1:12.549
2VER+0.374s
3RUS+0.408s
4STR+0.477s
5PIA+0.717s
View Full Results

But it was an even worse start for Kick Sauber’s Zhou Guanyu, who spun exiting the first corner and slid rearwards into the barriers, reporting that “I have no idea what’s happening with the car” as he triggered a red flag for the second day in a row.

Following a brief stoppage, the remaining drivers got back down to business on a mixture of Pirelli’s medium and hard compounds, with Verstappen and FP2 pace-setter Fernando Alonso soon moving into the 1m 14s to dip under Friday’s benchmark.

READ MORE: Vowles says two drivers in contention for final Williams seat in 2025 as he praises ‘incredible’ Sainz

Another round of improvements arrived at the halfway mark of the session, when the soft tyres appeared for the first time, bringing a series of mid-1m 13s laps from Hamilton, Lando Norris and Charles Leclerc – the latter mentioning some “pulling” and brake issues.

As proceedings drew to a close and the final soft-shod laps came in, which included a ‘Wall of Champions’ thump for Alex Albon, it was Hamilton – a six-time pole-sitter and seven-time winner in Canada – who produced the pace-setting time of 1m 12.549s.

Verstappen eventually emerged as Hamilton’s nearest challenger, some four-tenths away after complaining that his car was “jumping around a lot” and then tapping the Wall of Champions, with Russell a few hundredths further back in third position.

MONTREAL, QUEBEC - JUNE 08: Charles Leclerc of Monaco driving the (16) Ferrari SF-24 on track

A dry final practice saw drivers begin to test the limits around the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve

Home favourite Lance Stroll led Aston Martin’s charge in fourth position, followed closely by McLaren pair Oscar Piastri and Norris – who were split by the RB of Daniel Ricciardo – and two-time world champion team mate Alonso.

Sergio Perez wound up ninth in the second of the Red Bulls, while Ferrari’s first-day pace disappeared as Leclerc and Carlos Sainz took 10th and 12th respectively, around the Haas of Kevin Magnussen, prompting the Monegasque to question what was going on.

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Valtteri Bottas was 13th in his Kick Sauber, from Williams’ Logan Sargeant (who expressed his anger at some close calls with traffic late on), the other RB of Yuki Tsunoda, Pierre Gasly in the lead Alpine (who compromised one of Sainz’s final runs) and Haas’ Nico Hulkenberg.

Albon finished down in 18th after his visit to the barriers, which forced him to crawl back to the pit lane with apparent suspension damage, while outgoing Alpine driver Esteban Ocon and the sidelined Zhou completed the order.

Drivers and teams will now get set for the all-important qualifying session, which is due to begin at 1600 local time. Head to the RACE HUB to find out how you can follow the action from Montreal.

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