Leclerc narrowly beats Russell and leads FP3 of the Dutch F1 GP. Verstappen is 3rd

Leclerc narrowly beats Russell and leads FP3 of the Dutch F1 GP. Verstappen is 3rd
Leclerc narrowly beats Russell and leads FP3 of the Dutch F1 GP. Verstappen is 3rd

Charles Leclerc

Photo: Ferrari / Grand Prix


The starting grid setting day for the Formula 1 Dutch GP in Zandvoort began with a show of strength from Ferrari. This Saturday morning (3), Charles Leclerc built the best lap of the weekend to lead the third and final free practice. The difference to Mercedes and Max Verstappen, however, is small.

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Leclerc responded to calls at the time of happy hour of training, when the last attempts of classification simulation painted. He did enough to outrun the competition, but put just 0s066 on George Russell and 0s161 on top of Verstappen. Carlos Sainz was fourth. It’s a pretty fierce battle.

Closing the top-6 with the three main F1 teams, Lewis Hamilton and Sergio Pérez. The top ten group also included Fernando Alonso, Sebastian Vettel, Mick Schumacher and Lando Norris.

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Russell was competitive and finished second in FP3 (Photo: Mercedes)

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Check out how LT3 went:

The start of Saturday, when Formula 1 will define the starting grid for the Dutch GP, started with sunshine and pleasant temperatures in Zandvoort, on the shores of the North Sea. Very different from the weather conditions that were expected days before, let’s say. The third and final free practice came at a time when the ambient temperature was 23°C, while the asphalt received 30°C.

The training started with a few installation laps by Pierre Gasly and only Sergio Pérez decided to set a timed time at first. Despite this, the Mexican reported having certain difficulties in getting along with the rear of the Red Bull car. Since Friday, he hasn’t been doing well on the track.

It took a few minutes for Max Verstappen to come out of the garage, but when he did it was to fly. Right away, the championship leader scored 1min12s309. After all the problems of the initial free practices, he sets the best lap of the weekend by a margin of 0s6. On the next lap, however, he complained. “I no longer have grip with the tires after a single fast lap,” he said.

Max’s time came on soft tyres, which were the favorite choice for the vast majority of those entering the track in that early half of FP3. McLaren and Alpine were the teams that chose to start work on medium tyres, leaving the preparations for qualifying for a little later.

With the drivers of the top three teams already on the timesheets, Charles Leclerc was only able to jump ahead of Lewis Hamilton after 20 minutes of practice. The gap to Verstappen, however, was still 0s524. Hamilton was third and had Carlos Sainz and George Russell close behind. ‘Checo’ appeared far away, at the bottom of the top-10.

Max Verstappen was third in FP3 (Photo: Red Bull Content Pool)

In the midst of a gigantic confusion involving Oscar Piastri, a driver who conquered Formula 2 climbing the steps of his driver academy and now went to McLaren, Alpine showed to have the new #1 pupil, Jack Doohan, in the garage in Zandvoort.

Meanwhile, on the track, Hamilton was irritated by Yuki Tsunoda. The AlphaTauri driver was slow, slow in the fastest part of turn seven, one of the fastest on the circuit. Lewis had to take a lot of action to remove the car to avoid collision and spoiled the lap.

Daniel Ricciardo off track? He had. The Aussie made a brief tour of the fray while getting to know the limits of the track. FP3 is plenty of mileage for Ricciardo, who had to retire from Friday’s FP2 early after suffering a leaking radiator.

After 30 minutes of practice, Verstappen was still leading and had Leclerc, Hamilton, Sainz, Russell, Lance Stroll, Mick Schumacher, Sebastian Vettel, Pérez and Kevin Magnussen in the top-10. Shortly after the halfway mark, the track was pretty empty.

When the cars started to return, with just over 20 minutes to go, the then-vanished fast laps reappeared. What was an unbeatable time for Verstappen was swallowed up by Sainz’s 1min11s971. Stroll and Alexander Albon also jumped to the top spots. The ranking simulation season was more than open.

Leclerc decided to participate and surpassed his companion: 1min11s632. Russell boarded and moved up to second, just 0s066 behind Charles. Sainz was still third, but with Hamilton fourth. Red Bull needed to try again.

And it wasn’t a big success. Pérez was behind the four rivals Ferrari and Mercedes, while Verstappen could only go third. The Dutchman’s distance to Leclerc was 0s205. Verstappen amended one more lap and improved his time, but did not change his position: he was in the same third place, but now 0s161 behind Charles.

The last five minutes didn’t do much to note. There was, yes, Gasly’s AlphaTauri gliding across the grass and littering the track, but nothing more.

F1 2022, Dutch GP Zandvoort, FP3:

1 C LECLERC Ferrari 1:11,632 20
two G RUSSELL mercedes 1:11,698 +0.066 24
3 M VERSTAPPEN red bull 1:11,793 +0.161 22
4 C SAINZ Ferrari 1:11,971 +0.339 17
5 L HAMILTON mercedes 1:12,156 +0.524 25
6 S PEREZ red bull 1:12,176 +0.544 29
7 F ALONSO alpine 1:12,327 +0.695 16
8 S VETTEL Aston Martin Mercedes 1:12,491 +0.859 25
9 M SCHUMACHER Haas Ferrari 1:12,558 +0.926 15
10 L NORRIS McLaren Mercedes 1:12,591 +0.959 18
11 K MAGNUSEN Haas Ferrari 1:12,606 +0.974 15
12 L STROL Aston Martin Mercedes 1:12,773 +1,141 18
13 ALBON Williams Mercedes 1:12,775 +1,143 18
14 AND OCON alpine 1:13,003 +1,371 20
15 P GASLY AlphaTauri Honda 1:13,046 +1,414 23
16 Y TSUNODA AlphaTauri Honda 1:13,256 +1,624 22
17 DRINCIARD McLaren Mercedes 1:13,299 +1,667 20
18 V BOOTS Alfa Romeo Ferrari 1:13,359 +1,727 15
19 G ZHOU Alfa Romeo Ferrari 1:13,421 +1,789 14
20 N LATIFI Williams Mercedes 1:13,625 +1,993 22


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