Perez leads Verstappen, Sainz in final Belgian GP practice

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Perez leads Verstappen and Sainz in final Belgian GP practice

Red Bull’s Sergio Perez put in a very late flying lap to finish first in final practice over team mate Max Verstappen, while Carlos Sainz was over seven-tenths off the pace for Ferrari in P3.

Spa was blanketed in clouds but mostly untouched by rain on Saturday morning, with plenty of drama in the lead-up to FP3. That included grid penalties for numerous drivers including FP2 and FP3 leader Verstappen, plus Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and McLaren’s Lando Norris – as intrigue continued to bubble regarding the futures of Oscar Piastri and Daniel Ricciardo.

Perez’s post-chequered flag flying lap of 1m 45.047s bumped penalised team mate Verstappen to P2 by 0.137s, and Sainz down to third by 0.777s.

Sergio Perez Belgian GP
Sergio Perez Belgian GP

That left McLaren’s Lando Norris fourth, Fernando Alonso putting in a very late flyer to go P5 for Alpine and just a tenth behind his McLaren rival.

George Russell was next on the board for Mercedes while Charles Leclerc hit the barriers and caused a very brief red flag by spinning through the gravel at Turn 12. The Monegasque driver finished sixth overall in FP3 but said, after recovering his car from the gravel: “I don’t think the car has damage”.

FORMULA 1 ROLEX BELGIAN GRAND PRIX 2022 – Practice 3 results

POSITION TIME
1  Sergio PEREZ Red Bull Racing 1:45.047
2  Max VERSTAPPEN Red Bull Racing +0.137s
3  Carlos SAINZ Ferrari +0.777s
4  Lando NORRIS McLaren +0.918s
5  Fernando ALONSO Alpine +1.014s

Post-chequered flag runs saw Sebastian Vettel and Esteban Ocon jump to eighth and ninth respectively, the former reporting a possible engine glitch in his Aston Martin.

Pierre Gasly therefore rounded out the top 10, shrugging off a previous off at Blanchimont.

Outgoing McLaren racer Daniel Ricciardo was 11th ahead of Lewis Hamilton, who seemed to back out of a late flying effort, while Nicholas Latifi and Alex Albon finished a respective 13th and 14th for Williams.

Valtteri Bottas in P15 will be joining the other drivers at the rear of the grid on Sunday, the Alfa Romeo driver finishing a tenth ahead of 16th-place Aston Martin driver Lance Stroll and 17th-place Haas racer Kevin Magnussen.

Yuki Tsunoda was just behind Magnussen, the Japanese driver in P18 for AlphaTauri, while Zhou Guanyu finished 19th for Alfa Romeo as he anticipates a back-of-grid penalty.

Mick Schumacher completed just six laps thanks to a sensor issue, and also has grid penalties to contend with after finishing P20 in final practice for Haas.

Light rain peppered the track at the end of final practice, and it’s Perez who seems to hold the cards having set the fastest time – without any grid penalties to his name as of yet.

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