Styrian GP Practice Three: Lewis Hamilton outpaces Max Verstappen ahead of qualifying at Red Bull Ring

Lewis Hamilton topped a session ahead of Max Verstappen for the first time in the Styrian GP weekend to lead the way in the final practice session before qualifying.

Verstappen led both Friday sessions but Hamilton was the quicker of the two on Saturday morning, finishing two tenths of a second ahead of the F1 title leader with a best lap around the fast Red Bull Ring of 1:04.369.

The Red Bull did hit traffic in the first sector on its quickest lap, and then appeared frustrated with Hamilton as he passed the Briton in the final sector, but it appears that Mercedes are nonetheless closer on single-lap pace than they were at Paul Ricard last week.

It is the first practice session that Hamilton has topped since the Spanish GP, four races ago.

Valtteri Bottas was third fastest in the other Mercedes, four tenths adrift, but the Finn carries a three-place grid penalty into qualifying at 2pm after a pit-lane spin deemed ‘potentially dangerous’ by stewards in a verdict issued on Saturday evening.

Sergio Perez was fourth in the second Red Bull but lapped 0.657s off the leading pace.

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AlphaTauri enjoyed a strong session with Yuki Tsunoda and Pierre Gasly lapping fifth and sixth fastest at the head of the midfield. After losing all of Practice Two due to an engine issue, Gasly returned to the track with a new penalty-free MGU-K.

After concentrating on trying to cure their long-run issues from France, Ferrari let off some of the SF21’s shackles over a short lap and Charles Leclerc was seventh quickest.

Alpine and Aston Martin also appear top-10 contenders with Fernando Alonso, Lance Stroll and Sebastian Vettel rounding out the top 10.

McLaren slipped a long way down the order but their 17th and 19th positions are certainly not reflective of the MCL35M’s pace. Lando Norris had his best lap deleted for track limits at Turn 10, although Daniel Ricciardo, Friday’s second-quickest runner, did not appear quite as comfortable on his soft-tyre run.

Styrian GP Practice Three Timesheet

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