Verstappen on top after final free practice Imola

Published on 17 April 2021 by Kees-Jan Koster

Max Verstappen finished the third and final free practice session for the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix as fastest. The Dutchman did eighteen laps in the messy session coming to a 1:14.958 as fastest time. Leaving Lando Norris and Lewis Hamilton in second and third place about half a second behind. Red Bull Racing teammate Sergio Pérez finished fourth.

At 11.00 the lights at the end of the pitlane go green for the start of the final free practice session. Kimi Räikkönen is the first driver to leave the pitlane and set a time. Not much later both Haas drivers come out, after which it gets a bit busier on track. Max Verstappen first comes out after almost 25 minutes. The Dutchman hopes to drive more kilometres today after the driveshaft issues during the second free practice yesterday.

But it does not start well, when Nicholas Latifi – just before Max wants to start his first timed lap – looses control in turn six. The Canadian can free his car from the barrier and return to the pits, but race control decides to stop the session by showing the red flag.

Halfway the session the teams and drivers can continue. With a 1:16.642, Sergio Pérez has the fastest time. Behind him both Ferraris, the Alfa Romeos and Nicholas Latifi form the top six. Verstappen sets a 1:16.251 in his first timed lap and takes over the lead from his teammate, but his time is deleted for exceeding the track limits. The same happens to Lewis Hamilton not much later. Valtteri Bottas does stay within the lines and goes into the lead with a 1:15.984.

In a new attempt Max sets a 1:15.895 (P1), before returning to the pits. Four drivers go under Verstappen’s time, so with fifteen minutes to go the top six is formed by Lewis Hamilton (1:15.515), Lando Norris (+0.022), Charles Leclerc (+0.223), Pierre Gasly (+0.375), Max Verstappen (+0.380) and Carlos Sainz (+0.393). Except for the AlphaTauri of Gasly, all of them set their times on red soft tyres.

Max comes out on track again in the final phase of the third free practice session. With a fresh set of soft tyres on his RB16B the Dutchman takes an impressive nine tenths of his fastest time and takes the lead. During the rest of the session this time is not improved, so Max stays on top op the list with a 1:14.958. Norris, Hamilton, Pérez, Leclerc and Gasly complete the top six. 

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Results third free practice Emilia-romagna:

posdriverteamtimegaplaps
1Max VerstappenVERRed Bull Racing Honda1:14.958 17
2Lando NorrisNORMcLaren Mercedes1:15.414+0.456s16
3Lewis HamiltonHAMMercedes1:15.515+0.557s17
4Sergio PerezPERRed Bull Racing Honda1:15.551+0.593s17
5Charles LeclercLECFerrari1:15.738+0.780s20
6Pierre GaslyGASAlphaTauri Honda1:15.890+0.932s21
7Carlos SainzSAIFerrari1:15.908+0.950s20
8Valtteri BottasBOTMercedes1:15.908+0.950s18
9Fernando AlonsoALOAlpine Renault1:16.186+1.228s19
10Esteban OconOCOAlpine Renault1:16.228+1.270s19
11Yuki TsunodaTSUAlphaTauri Honda1:16.230+1.272s19
12Lance StrollSTRAston Martin Mercedes1:16.245+1.287s18
13Daniel RicciardoRICMcLaren Mercedes1:16.253+1.295s16
14Sebastian VettelVETAston Martin Mercedes1:16.389+1.431s18
15George RussellRUSWilliams Mercedes1:16.427+1.469s19
16Mick SchumacherSCHHaas Ferrari1:16.448+1.490s21
17Nicholas LatifiLATWilliams Mercedes1:16.537+1.579s14
18Antonio GiovinazziGIOAlfa Romeo Racing Ferrari1:16.612+1.654s21
19Kimi RäikkönenRAIAlfa Romeo Racing Ferrari1:16.803+1.845s22
20Nikita MazepinMAZHaas Ferrari1:17.398+2.440s22