The pit lane opened and the cars were out on track for the final free practice session at the 7.004 km motor-racing Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, ahead of the qualifying session for the Belgian Grand Prix, as many drivers headed out straight away.
After 20 minutes from the start of the session, Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz had yet to leave their garage as every other team had at least one driver put in a flying lap.
During FP3, we also received confirmation that Zhou Guanyu was the latest driver to incur a grid penalty for Sunday’s race: the Alfa Romeo driver is understood to have incurred a 10-place drop for exceeding his entitled amount of gearbox components. He therefore joins Max Verstappen, Charles Leclerc, Lando Norris, Esteban Ocon, Mick Schumacher and team-mate Valtteri Bottas on the current list of drivers who will be relegated on the grid for tomorrow’s race at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps.
After 25 minutes, the Ferrari cars jumped to top of the timesheet: Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz finally headed out onto the track and it was the Spaniard who jumped straight to the top of the timesheet with his first flying lap, setting a 1:46.461. But just a few moments later, Red Bull driver Perez set the fastest time so far with a 1:45.972. Alex Albon was up among the pace-setters too, with the Williams driver third at this stage. It was also a better showing from Mercedes as they started to work their way up the timesheet: Lewis Hamilton was now +1.394s off the pace and up into 4th with Russell sitting 7th and a second slower than his teammate.
Show your support for Scuderia Ferrari with official merchandise collection from Puma! Enter the online Puma Store and shop securely! And get your F1 tickets for every race with VIP hospitality and unparalleled insider access. Click here for the best offers to support Charles and Carlos from the track!
More updates from the FIA on the cars who are taking penalties for new parts this weekend: Charles Leclerc, Mick Schumacher and Zhou Guanyu will also be taking new power units, which means they join Max Verstappen, Lando Norris and Esteban Ocon in being relegated to the back of the grid. Valtteri Bottas is facing a 15-place penalty, which means he will start ahead of the above group, whose grid order will be dictated by their qualifying performance. Charles Leclerc has taken a new MGU-H, ICE, turbo and exhaust system. This is a combined 25 place penalty, so he will be automatically sent to the back of the grid. For clarification, the starting position will be determined by qualifying order of the drivers automatically sent to the back of the grid
Could Verstappen be facing a trip to the stewards’ office for not slowing down for a yellow flag in Sector 3? “Just been through yellows, Max,” comes the message over the radio. “There was no flag!” he reports back, with green displayed as he went through where there had been a yellow. We’ll see if anything comes of that though. Despite the confusion over the yellow flags, Verstappen put in a 1:45.480 and was now at the top of the timesheet. His teammate, Sergio Perez, was just +0.492s behind him, with 15 minutes until the end of FP3.
With ten minutes to go there was a big moment for Charles Leclerc as the Ferrari man ended up in the gravel trap and hit the wall, bringing out the red flag. Luckily Charles was able to continue after his crash: “I’m back out; I don’t think the car is damaged,” he tells his team over the radio. It was a close call for Charles Leclerc as he lost control of his Ferrari F1-75 car and crashed out at Turn 12.
The marshals cleared up the track where Charles Leclerc went off and Practice Three resumed with four minutes remaining. Plenty of drivers were back out on track trying to get in some laps before the end. Meanwhile after an investigation from the stewards, it is concluded that there is no further action required against Max Verstappen after he failed to slow under yellow flags.
And that was the end of Practice Three, while there are still some cars out there trying to put in one final quick time. Sergio Perez remained fastest with a 1:45.047, followed by his Red Bull teammate, with Carlos Sainz in third place and Charles Leclerc P7.