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FP3: Verstappen leads Russell and Perez in rain-hampered final practice session in Zandvoort

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ZANDVOORT, NETHERLANDS - AUGUST 26: Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (1) Oracle Red

Max Verstappen set the pace in the final practice hour in Zandvoort, as the home favourite mastered the wet conditions to top the timesheets ahead of George Russell and his team mate Sergio Perez.

The drivers ran in hot and humid conditions on Friday, but they were greeted by a wet track on Saturday morning, as heavy rain hit the circuit right before the session got underway, with more arriving during FP3.

READ MORE: Verstappen says Red Bull still have things to 'improve' despite 'pretty good' first day in Zandvoort

As the session got underway and the drivers began to filter out on to the track, the sun began to shine through. However, track conditions were still wet with both Red Bulls in Verstappen and Perez, as well as Lando Norris ending up off-track.

The session was then red flagged when Kevin Magnussen spun into the barrier at Turn 3, with the Dane coming on the radio to immediately apologise to his Haas team. That signalled a difficult start to the day for Haas following Nico Hulkenberg’s crash in FP1 on Friday.

After a seven-minute delay, the drivers went back out on track with Verstappen going fastest, leading Norris by over a second and a half. However, there was another red flag as Zhou Guanyu beached his Alfa Romeo in the gravel at the final corner.

Netherlands 2023

Practice 3 results

PositionTeam NameTime
1VER1:21.631
2RUS+0.379s
3PER+1s
4ALO+1.003s
5HAM+1.092s
View Full Results

Once the action restarted, McLaren's Oscar Piastri and Norris began to swap fastest times, before the session was once again red flagged.

Liam Lawson – filling in for Daniel Ricciardo after the Australian broke a bone in his hand after his crash in FP2 – spun his AlphaTauri into the barrier at Turn 14, and despite damage to his front wing he was able to continue on into the pits.

READ MORE: Norris ‘100%’ confident McLaren can stay in the fight at Zandvoort after table-topping Friday as Piastri reacts to crash

With eight minutes remaining following the session’s resumption, the drives came out for their final laps before qualifying. And it was Verstappen who eventually went to the top of the timesheets, leading Russell by 0.379s.

Verstappen’s Red Bull team mate, Perez, left it late to go third fastest, going ahead of the Aston Martin of Fernando Alonso in fourth, as the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton went up to P5, also on his final attempt in the session.

Alex Albon picked up where he left off on Friday to go sixth fastest for Williams, ahead of McLaren’s Piastri, who recovered from his crash in FP2 to finish seventh. Valtteri Bottas also impressed as he went eighth fastest for Alfa Romeo.

ZANDVOORT, NETHERLANDS - AUGUST 26: Liam Lawson of New Zealand driving the (40) Scuderia AlphaTauri

Liam Lawson got his first outing of the season with AlphaTauri replacing the injured Daniel Ricciardo

Charles Leclerc recovered from his multiple off-track excursions at Turn 1 to set the ninth fastest time for Ferrari, with Norris rounding out the top-10 for McLaren.

Pierre Gasly was 11th fastest for Alpine, ahead of the other Ferrari of Carlos Sainz, who also had problems at Turn 1, with Yuki Tsunoda in 13th for AlphaTauri, and Williams’ Logan Sargeant in 14th.

READ MORE: ‘It was either hit Piastri or hit the wall’ – Ricciardo reflects on hand-breaking incident as ‘excited’ Lawson prepares for F1 race debut

Hulkenberg wound up 15th for Haas, while Esteban Ocon soldiered on after his collision with the barrier at Turn 1 but was down in 16th for Alpine, with Lance Stroll in 17th for Aston Martin.

Lawson was also able to continue on after his meeting with the barrier, but found himself down in 18th, with Zhou Guanyu and Kevin Magnussen at the bottom of the field after their sessions ended early.

The drivers will now look over the data with their teams, debrief, and get themselves ready for qualifying later today at 1500 local time.

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