Sainz leads FP3 with Verstappen fourth

In the second half of the session, as the sun began to set, Ferrari chose to wait for the track temperature to drop a bit more, before sending both drivers out for their first attempts. lap

Sainz’s 1m32.065s in his first push-lap on the soft tires gave him top spot, and the Spaniard’s time withstood a late siege amid a flurry of qualifying simulations.

Sainz led the line before being displaced by Russell as the Mercedes duo sat on the line after the opening half-hour run. Russell led Hamilton as both avoided the medium compound used by their front-running rivals in the opening series of soft-tire laps.

Russell’s 1m32.364s in soft put him back on top but was beaten by Lando Norris’ 1m32.303s. As both Ferraris took the podium, the McLaren driver’s time could not be held firmly from Sainz’s lap.

Although the Ferrari pair risked a sector three yellow flag when Alex Alban took off at Turn 17, the green flag waved at the chicane in time for them to pass unimpeded.

On the second slope, Russell leapfrogged Norris to take second, while Sainz tried to better his time on the second run – but the Monza Polsiter instead found a 50-50 grind on the Turn 7 exit curb and had to call off his run.

Team-mate Charles Leclerc also had to retire a lap later after setting a fast first sector, denying Ferrari the chance to secure another practice 1-2.

Norris finished the session third behind Russell as Max Verstappen managed to finish fourth on his final soft-tyre lap, while testing his improvements throughout the session.

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His first flying run eventually fell 0.7s short of Sainz’s best effort, and despite a hot fix for upshifts giving him a drop on the lap, Verstappen continued to fight for traction.

Leclerc dropped back from his opening flying lap and his next attempt failed to deliver anything other than fifth place overall. After stopping on his third attempt, he finished the session two-tenths of a second clear of Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes.

Oscar Piastre was seventh fastest to beat Sergio Perez – who struggled to bite the rear and front end of his car on a “edge”. That put him over a tenth off Nico Hulkenberg’s ninth-best time, as Yuki Tsunoda rounded out the top 10.

Kevin Magnussen and Esteban Ocon dropped out of the top half of the field, with the Silverstone outfit unable to maintain any top-line pace ahead of Aston Martin duo Fernando Alonso and Lance Stroll.

Liam Lawson managed to salvage a spin after dipping a wheel off the line at Turn 2 and cleared his Albatauri from the barrier before continuing his session. He finished 16th between Pierre Gasly and Alphonse.

Valtteri Bottas was 18th fastest but will be questioned by the stewards for not following pit entry guidelines, where he was seen moving onto the circuit separating curb before returning to the pit lane. Zhou Guanyu and Logan Sargent supported the order.

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