Verstappen beats Hamilton in third practice in Saudi Arabia


Mercedes chose to test the Hard tires in this session in order to get a clear idea of ​​which to head into Sunday’s race, having not tested them yesterday.

All of the tire combinations seemed to require more than one lap, especially the Soft tyres, which Verstappen did.

Hamilton braked at Turn 1 and went off the track but made it back up, saying over the radio: “I knew it was going to happen.”

But that didn’t hinder his progress, as the Briton continued to build up lap after lap, hitting hard in 1:28.314 on his eighth lap on the Hard tyres, almost halfway through the lap, and generally the harder tires seemed to perform better.

As with Verstappen, the soft tires did not perform as well as Hamilton had hoped for when he came back on them, especially during his first laps.

Traffic was a significant problem despite the recent guidance, with Hamilton going slow on two occasions and Pierre Gasly nearly hitting him at Turn 1 and then Nikita Mazepin in the second.

Oddly enough, Mercedes was unable to run the “soft” tires and its drivers were again unable to improve their timings on them despite numerous attempts.

After taking the lead at the end of the first series of attempts, Verstappen improved his time by a tenth of a second in his second run, clocking 1:28.100 to secure the top spot.

The Dutchman led by 0.214 seconds over his rival Hamilton, whose time on “Hard” was his best, which leaves us with a blurry scene heading into qualifying and the race.

Third place went to Sergio Perez, who looked much better today, although he was half a second slower than Verstappen.

Yuki Tsunoda continued his impressive performance this weekend to finish fourth, ahead of teammate Pierre Gasly.

Bottas was limited to sixth place after struggling today compared to his strong performance yesterday.

Charles Leclerc appears to have recovered from his accident yesterday, managing to finish seventh in front of teammate Carlos Sainz Jr., while Esteban Ocon and Lando Norris completed the top ten.

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