Hungarian GP: Hamilton outpaces Verstappen by 0.088s in FP3

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton set the fastest time in final practice for Formula 1's 2021 Hungarian Grand Prix, edging out title rival Max Verstappen by 0.088s.

Hungarian GP: Hamilton outpaces Verstappen by 0.088s in FP3

Although the majority of the field spent the first third of the session in their garages, the Haas pair headed out immediately – with Nikita Mazepin on the mediums and Mick Schumacher on the softs, a split that was replicated across the few cars that soon joined them.

Mazepin established the first place benchmark at a 1m25.419s with his opening lap, which Schumacher immediately bettered with a 1m22.804s.

After Schumacher improved on his next lap to a 1m21.898s, Yuki Tsunoda, Kimi Raikkonen and Carlos Sainz all enjoyed brief moments at the head of the times – the Alfa Romeo running the softs with the AlphaTauri and Ferrari on the mediums.

Just after Raikkonen had retaken first place with a 1m19.267s just before the 15-minute mark, Hamilton headed on for his opening run on the softs.

The world champion duly went quickest on a 1m18.587s, but he struggled with a badly oversteering car all around the lap – including Hamilton having to get fully off the power to correct a slide at the last corner – and he immediately pitted when he spotted a pin embedded in his right-front tyre, which Mercedes quickly removed.

As the rest of the runners headed out after 20 minutes had passed, Hamilton lowered the first place benchmark to a 1m18.204s but was deposed by Verstappen running just behind him on the track.

The Red Bull driver's opening lap on the softs swept him to first place on a 1m17.510s, which put him 0.694s clear of his title rival and with the fastest times in all three sectors at that stage.

But when Valtteri Bottas came through to complete his first flying lap of FP3, the second practice pacesetter put Mercedes back on top with a 1m17.428s – the Finn toppling Verstappen's best segment times in sectors two and three as he gained ground as the lap went on.

After a lull in action ahead of the final 20 minutes, Bottas reappeared on another set of softs to improve the fastest time to a 1m17.055s, just before the session was red flagged when Schumacher crashed at the fast, 90-degree right of Turn 11 at the end of the second sector.

The rookie lost the rear of his Haas mid-corner and he spun off backwards at high-speed, with the car snapping back to the left and hitting the barriers side-on as a result.

The session was suspended for seven minutes, the pack head out for a final set of runs in the closing minutes.

Verstappen gained 0.3s on Bottas's best time in the first sector on his final flying lap, which he held in the second segment and then lost time in the last sector, even though he ended up moving back to the top spot on a 1m16.914s.

But Hamilton restored Mercedes' place at the head of the times as he ran just behind Verstappen on his final push lap, going faster as the lap went on to end up quickest in the final two sectors and overall with a 1m16.826s.

Bottas held onto third despite a late moment locking up and going off at the Turns 6/7 chicane, with Sainz – who had jumped up the order with a fast lap just before the red flag – fourth for Ferrari.

Charles Leclerc finished fifth ahead of McLaren's Lando Norris, while Sergio Perez could only take seventh fastest in the second Red Bull.

Daniel Ricciardo was eighth ahead of Fernando Alonso, with Lance Stroll rounding out the top 10.

Stroll was involved in a bizarre and nearly very dangerous moment as the cars returned to the track after the red flag, when he drove down the pitlane and was clipped by Antonio Giovinazzi's front wing as the Alfa Romeo emerged, at very low speed, from its garage.

The incident is being investigated ahead of qualifying, with Giovinazzi, who finished 18th in the final order, only ahead of the Haas duo, also getting involved in a second late incident with Pierre Gasly.

In that moment in the final minutes that is also being investigated by the stewards, Gasly, who ended up 11th in FP3, had to shoot around Giovinazzi’s outside and nearly go into the pitlane as the Alfa toured slowly ahead of a final flying effort, while the AlphaTauri was already on a fast lap that was ruined in the incident.

Cla Driver Chassis Laps Time Gap
1 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton
Mercedes 20 1'16.826
2 Netherlands Max Verstappen
Red Bull 13 1'16.914 0.088
3 Finland Valtteri Bottas
Mercedes 15 1'17.055 0.229
4 Spain Carlos Sainz Jr.
Ferrari 20 1'17.497 0.671
5 Monaco Charles Leclerc
Ferrari 16 1'17.520 0.694
6 United Kingdom Lando Norris
McLaren 12 1'17.772 0.946
7 Mexico Sergio Perez
Red Bull 12 1'17.917 1.091
8 Australia Daniel Ricciardo
McLaren 15 1'17.942 1.116
9 Spain Fernando Alonso
Alpine 15 1'17.992 1.166
10 Canada Lance Stroll
Aston Martin 16 1'18.050 1.224
11 France Pierre Gasly
AlphaTauri 17 1'18.115 1.289
12 France Esteban Ocon
Alpine 15 1'18.174 1.348
13 Germany Sebastian Vettel
Aston Martin 15 1'18.235 1.409
14 Japan Yuki Tsunoda
AlphaTauri 25 1'18.461 1.635
15 Finland Kimi Raikkonen
Alfa Romeo 21 1'18.683 1.857
16 United Kingdom George Russell
Williams 14 1'18.794 1.968
17 Canada Nicholas Latifi
Williams 15 1'18.821 1.995
18 Italy Antonio Giovinazzi
Alfa Romeo 14 1'19.113 2.287
19 Germany Mick Schumacher
Haas 15 1'19.406 2.580
20 Russian Federation Nikita Mazepin
Haas 16 1'19.933 3.107
shares
comments
Why the F1 tension between Mercedes and Red Bull won’t ease off
Previous article

Why the F1 tension between Mercedes and Red Bull won’t ease off

Next article

The F1 champion who became an Indy king in his second career

The F1 champion who became an Indy king in his second career
Load comments
How getting sacked from Benetton made Mercedes' Allison Prime

How getting sacked from Benetton made Mercedes' Allison

He’s had a hand in world championship-winning Formula 1 cars for Benetton, Renault and Mercedes, and was also a cog in the Schumacher-Ferrari axis. Having recently ‘moved upstairs’ as Mercedes chief technical officer, James Allison tells Stuart Codling about his career path and why being axed by Benetton was one of the best things that ever happened to him.

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2021
The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback Prime

The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback

It’s easy to look at Robert Kubica’s second Formula 1 career and feel a sense of sadness that he didn’t reach the heights for which he seemed destined. But as Ben Anderson discovered, performance and results are almost meaningless in this context – something more fundamental and incredible happened…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2021
The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver for McLaren Prime

The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver for McLaren

From being lapped by his own teammate in Monaco to winning at Monza, it’s been a tumultuous first season at McLaren for Daniel Ricciardo. But, as he tells STUART CODLING, there’s more to the story of his turnaround than having a lovely summer holiday during Formula 1's summer break...

Formula 1
Nov 26, 2021
The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title Prime

The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title

As the battle continues to rage over the F1 2021 drivers' championship, teams up and down the grid are turning their attentions to the prize money attributed to each position in the constructors' standings. But F1's sliding scale rules governing wind tunnel and CFD use will soften the blow for those who miss out on the top places

Formula 1
Nov 25, 2021
The invisible enemy that's made Hamilton's title charge tougher Prime

The invisible enemy that's made Hamilton's title charge tougher

After winning his past few Formula 1 titles as a canter, Lewis Hamilton currently trails Max Verstappen by eight points heading into the final double-header of 2021. Although Red Bull has been his biggest on-track challenge, Hamilton feels that he has just as much to grapple with away from the circuit

Formula 1
Nov 24, 2021
Why F1's inconvenient penalties have to stay Prime

Why F1's inconvenient penalties have to stay

OPINION: Quibbles over the length of time taken by Formula 1's stewards over decisions are entirely valid. But however inconvenient it is, there can be no questioning the importance of having clearly defined rules that everyone understands and can stick to. Recent events have shown that ambiguity could have big consequences

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2021
The mistakes Red Bull cannot afford to repeat in F1 2021's title fight climax Prime

The mistakes Red Bull cannot afford to repeat in F1 2021's title fight climax

OPINION: Red Bull has had Formula 1’s fastest package for most of 2021, but in several of the title run-in events it has wasted the RB16B’s potential. It cannot afford to do so again with Lewis Hamilton motoring back towards Max Verstappen in the drivers’ standings with two rounds remaining

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2021
Qatar Grand Prix driver ratings Prime

Qatar Grand Prix driver ratings

Qatar was a virtual unknown for most as Formula 1 made its inaugural visit to the Gulf state, and tyre management quickly emerged as an even more critical factor than normal. Perhaps then it should come as no surprise that two of the championship's elder statesmen produced standout drives

Formula 1
Nov 22, 2021