Verstappen leads the Ferrari duo in final practice at the French Grand Prix | Formula 1®

Max Verstappen set FP3’s fastest lap in France with a late race on soft tyres, keeping Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc at bay by a comfortable margin.

Verstappen held the lead for much of the session thanks to his first benchmark on the 1m 32.808s medium tyres. While the Dutchman came out a few minutes after FP3, Leclerc and Sainz came out after 15 minutes, Leclerc on hard tires for eight laps (a spin at turn 12 cutting his race short) while Sainz came out for a lap in apps.

Neither could match or eclipse Verstappen until the grip and temperatures increased at the very end of FP3, when Sainz came out on top with a time of 1m 32.626s. However, it was then that Verstappen opted to switch from mediums to softs and returned to the top with a blistering effort of 1m 32.272s.

READ MORE: Sainz and Magnussen set to start French Grand Prix from back of grid after series of power unit changes

The championship leader relegated Sainz – who was due to start Sunday’s race from the back of the grid due to power unit changes – to second (0.354s), while Leclerc was down 0.637s in P3 – complaining that its tires were falling off after an effort flight.

Lewis Hamilton took the P4 in FP3, the Mercedes driver performing a different rear wing to his teammate. The soft tire races saw Hamilton finish 0.983 seconds off Verstappen’s pace, with Sergio Perez a hair behind in fifth having executed the same moderately soft race plan as the other Red Bull’s defending champion.


Running of the red bulls












Running of the red bulls


George Russell was sixth, just eight hundredths behind team-mate Hamilton, while Alpine’s Fernando Alonso moved from medium to soft very late in the session to move up to seventh.

Behind Alonso was Williams’ Alex Albon, who was eighth in his recently improved Williams – while team-mate Nicholas Latifi took 12th in this session as he too enjoyed Williams’ new updates.

READ MORE: ‘It’s not spectacular’ – Mercedes says they are ‘further behind than we hoped’ after Friday in France

Between the Williams were McLaren’s Lando Norris in ninth, AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda in 10th and Daniel Ricciardo in P11.

Pierre Gasly finished 13th in this session for AlphaTauri ahead of the Alfa Romeos, Valtteri Bottas 14th and Zhou Guanyu 15th.

FP3 Highlights: 2022 French Grand Prix

Kevin Magnussen will start from the back of the grid with Sainz for the Grand Prix having also taken new Ferrari engine components, and he finished 16th for Haas after finishing the session with an 11-lap stint on medium tyres.

Esteban Ocon was next on the field in P17 for Alpine after a few regular stints on the mediums and a late run on the softs.

READ MORE: 5 things we learned during Friday’s practice at the French Grand Prix

Mick Schumacher was 19th, booked by Aston Martins – Lance Stroll 18th and Sebastian Vettel 20th, the four-time champion missing the second half of FP3 with damage on the ground.

With qualifying ahead, Red Bull showed a change of pace and may have given Ferrari cause for concern in France. Join us at 1600 local time for live coverage.

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