Verstappen snatches P1 from Hamilton in final practice

Max Verstappen staked his claim for pole position at Barcelona in Saturday's FP3, the Red Bull driver clocking... The post Verstappen snatches P1 from Hamilton in final practice appeared first on F1i.com.

Verstappen snatches P1 from Hamilton in final practice

Max Verstappen staked his claim for pole position at Barcelona in Saturday's FP3, the Red Bull driver clocking in fastest in the final practice session with a 0.235s margin over Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton.

Strong performances from Ferrari's Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz allowed the duo to complete the top four while Valtteri Bottas was fifth, 0.588s behind the session's pace setter.

Saturday dawned predictably warm and sunny in Barcelona, offering teams the perfect conditions in which to refine their performance ahead of this afternoon's qualifying.

The talk at the end of Friday's FP2 was centered on Max Verstappen's lowly P9 in the session. But many were quick to point out that the Dutchman had set his time on the medium tyre rather than on the soft rubber like his rivals, implying that his effort was likely not representative of Red Bull's true potential.

F1 veteran Fernando Alonso, a man who knows by heart every crack and undulation of Barcelona's tarmac, was the first driver to take to the track.

As the track gradually populated, fastest laps changed hands, with Charles Leclerc setting the first significant benchmark on the soft tyre in 1m18.882s, with teammate Carlos Sainz in tow, just 0.167s behind.

But 20 minutes into the session, both Scuderia drivers were overhauled by Mercedes' soft-shod Black Arrows, with Hamilton edging Bottas by 0.119s with a 1m18.304s.

Meanwhile, Verstappen – still running on the mediums – improved to P3, but 0.513s behind Hamilton who lowered his best to 1m18.117s.

As the session entered its final 20 minutes, qualifying simulations were in order in the Ferrari camp, which led to Leclerc and Sainz moving up to P2 and P3.

As everyone started to dial in more speed, a switch to the soft tyre allowed Verstappen to snatch P1 thanks to a lap in 1m17.835 that edged Hamilton by 0.235s. The Dutchman's effort was visibly an indication that things were set to get serious, foretelling a titanic Saturday afternoon shootout.

Behind F1's dueling duo, Leclerc and Sainz's performance augured well for qualifying while Bottas and Norris rounded off the top ten.

AlphaTauri's Pierre Gasly was seventh, followed by the improving Daniel Ricciardo, a feisty Kimi Raikkonen and Sergio Perez who closed out the top-ten.

As a reminder, 90 percent of the wins recorded at the Circuit de Catalunya have been achieved by drivers starting on the front, a stat that puts an overwhelming emphasis on qualifying.

Bring it on!

Keep up to date with all the F1 news via and

The post Verstappen snatches P1 from Hamilton in final practice appeared first on F1i.com.

Source : F1 i More   

What's Your Reaction?

like
0
dislike
0
love
0
funny
0
angry
0
sad
0
wow
0

Next Article

Button: Mercedes 'has to move on' from Bottas

Jenson Button says Mercedes will need, at some point, to replace Valtteri Bottas with a driver capable of... The post Button: Mercedes 'has to move on' from Bottas appeared first on F1i.com.

Button: Mercedes 'has to move on' from Bottas

Jenson Button says Mercedes will need, at some point, to replace Valtteri Bottas with a driver capable of consistently challenging Lewis Hamilton.

Bottas has won all his seven races in F1 with Mercedes which he joined in 2017. But the Finn's track record on race day pales in comparison to Hamilton's 43 wins achieved during the same period.

Three races into the 2021 season, the Briton already enjoys a 37-point lead over Bottas in the Drivers' standings, with the Finn also outscored so far by Red Bull's Max Verstappen and McLaren's Lando Norris.

Hamilton and Bottas' contracts with Mercedes will expire at the end of the season, and while the seven-time world champion will decide his own fate, his teammate likely won't have that luxury, even more so with Mercedes protégé George Russell waiting in the wings.

"The problem isn’t qualifying as he is pretty good, but the races…Hamilton has been on another level," Button told Sky Sports F1.

"Lewis’ strengths for me when I was his team-mate was always the qualifying and not the race. So he’s obviously turned it around and gained a lot of experience.

"But at some point, Mercedes have to move on and put someone else in the car and see if they can challenge Lewis."

Button's Sky F1 colleague Martin Brundle contrasted the 2009 F1 world champion's view with a bit of sympathetic support for Bottas, suggesting that the Finn would 'look like a hero' without Hamilton in the team.

"I mean I’d have liked to have been rubbish enough to beat Lewis Hamilton in a Formula 1 car, to pole in Portimao last weekend," Brundle said.

"I really feel sorry for Valtteri. I’m sure there were people who thought I wasn’t good enough for some drives at some point but I didn’t face anything like that in the media.

"He has had brutal questions, but such is the way that it is these days.

"It’s hard for Valtteri. I’m sure it knocks his confidence as you just can’t just be bulletproof on that sort of thing.

"He’s come up against Lewis Hamilton, who appears to be the greatest Formula 1 driver of all time, potentially, theoretically, statistically, whichever way you look at it.

"That’s just bad luck for him. Wouldn’t he look a hero if Lewis wasn’t in the team?”

"Valtteri is a 1.5 driver, not a number two. He’s certainly not leading that team just because of the majestic speed and guile and racecraft that his team-mate has got."

Keep up to date with all the F1 news via and

The post Button: Mercedes 'has to move on' from Bottas appeared first on F1i.com.

Source : F1 i More   

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.