Verstappen fastest in FP3

ZANDVOORT, NETHERLANDS – SEPTEMBER 04: Sparks fly behind Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (33) Red Bull Racing RB16B Honda during final practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of The Netherlands at Circuit Zandvoort on September 04, 2021 in Zandvoort, Netherlands. (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images). Credit: Red Bull Content Pool

It was time for the third free practice session at Zandvoort on Saturday. Max Verstappen set the fastest lap and will start qualifying as the fastest driver.

However, the focus in FP3 was not only on Verstappen, but also on the new drivers on the track. Robert Kubica will drive instead of Kimi Raikkonen in the Alfa Romeo this race weekend, as the Finn tested positive for COVID-19.

The Pole also went out first and set a time straight away, but it was not a benchmark as he was driving this track for the first time. After five minutes there was an all-clear for Max Verstappen, who did not get a grid penalty because of his overtaking maneuver during red flags in FP2.

The first minor incident happened to Sebastian Vettel, who lost the rear, drove through the gravel and cleared the DRS sign with the rear.

The next red flag on this race weekend was not long in coming, however, because just shortly after Vettel’s incident Carlos Sainz drove into the outside of Hugenholtzbocht and destroyed the front suspension and front wing.

After a little more than ten minutes, however, the race continued and Fernando Alonso set a great time in the Alpine with 1:10.670. After that, almost all drivers changed to soft tires to start the qualifying tests. This was well used by both Mercedes drivers at the start, that set the two fastest laps, a good ten minutes before the end of the session. However, Red Bull driver Max Verstappen showed an incredible lap, putting himself ahead of Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton with a time of 1:09.623. This time was enough for the Dutchman to set the fastest time in FP3. Verstappen also benefited from Perez’s slipstream in the third sector.

In the end, there were still some mistakes in the corners with the approached soft tires. Among the victims were Charles Leclerc and Mick Schumacher.

The times of the top 10 drivers after FP3 in Zandvoort:

1Max VerstappenRed Bull Racing1:09.623
2Valtteri BottasMercedes+0.556
3Lewis HamiltonMercedes+0.794
4Sergio PerezRed Bull Racing+0.903
5Fernando AlonsoAlpine+1.047
6Lando NorrisMcLaren+1.158
7Lance StrollAston Martin+1.219
8Sebastian VettelAston Martin+1.249
9Charles LeclercFerrari+1.273
10Pierre GaslyAlphaTauri+1.382
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