Max Verstappen emerged the fastest driver in FP3 at Jeddah, with Lewis Hamilton and teammate Sergio Perez not too far behind.
Kimi Raikkonen was one of the first to take to the Jeddah Corniche Circuit and initially led the way 10 minutes in. However, Valtteri Bottas knocked him off with the 1:30.394 on hard compound tires for his first flying lap. Raikkonen responded and reclaimed the top spot soon after.
Lewis Hamilton shot to the top of the timing sheets with the 1:29.605. Bottas quickly made it a Mercedes 1-2 after clocking a lap 3 tenths slower.
Around 20 minutes in, the Red Bull duo began setting some flying laps, with Sergio Perez briefly going fastest. Hamilton and Bottas very quickly surpassed the Mexican again with the new benchmark of 1:29.197. The Briton soon increased this to 1:28.314.
Max Verstappen’s next lap on soft tires placed him second fastest, trailing Hamilton by 3 tenths of a second. Pierre Gasly followed closely on mediums, a tenth shy of Verstappen.
While Verstappen wasn’t quick enough to pass Hamilton the first outing, he set another time with under 30 minutes to go that brought him to the top. The 1:28.212 lap time was just a tenth quicker than his rival’s.
With a third of the session remaining, the majority of teams began to fit soft tires for final qualifying simulations.
Verstappen was one of the drivers to continue running on softs. Despite being unable to improve in the middle sector, he improved to go faster than Hamilton by 2 tenths.
While Hamilton ran in the top two positions, Bottas struggled to join him as he remained in P6, almost 9 tenths off Verstappen’s 1:28.105.
Yuki Tsunoda also improved greatly, leaping to P3 ahead of Gasly with a 5-tenth deficit to the quickest time. Perez was another driver to improve in the dying moments of the session, climbing to 3rd.
In the end, Verstappen kept his place at the top of the timing sheets and was followed closely by the championship rival Hamilton.
The top 10 of the Formula 1 Saudi Arabian GP FP3:
|1||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing||1:28.100|
|3||Sergio Perez||Red Bull Racing||+0.529|
|12||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo Racing||+1.490|
|13||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo Racing||+1.589|
|15||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin||+1.930|
|17||Sebastian Vettel||Aston Martin||+2.196|