until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Formula 1

Bizarre Leclerc/Norris clash headlines Spanish GP final practice

by Josh Suttill
3 min read

Carlos Sainz topped the final practice session at the Spanish Grand Prix which ended with a bizarre clash between his Ferrari team-mate Charles Leclerc and Lando Norris.

FP3 highlights

  • Just 0.074s cover the top four
  • Sainz on top ahead of Norris
  • Two separate on-track clashes

Home hero Sainz edged Norris by just 0.030s to top FP3 with a 1m13.013s but the spotlight at the end of the session was on his team-mate.

Leclerc had Norris on his left at the entry to Turns 7/8 and Leclerc then moved over and made minor contact with the McLaren driver in a move that appeared to be an act of retaliation.

Both drivers continued but Leclerc - visibly furious inside the cockpit - offered a single expletive to Ferrari over the team radio.

"He just drove into me, I think I've got damage," Norris told McLaren.

The incident is being investigated and both Leclerc and Norris will see the stewards after the session.

Bizarrely that wasn't the only on-track clash in third practice.

Lance Stroll and Lewis Hamilton will also see the stewards after the session following a run-in at Turn 5.

Stroll found Hamilton in his path while on a flying lap and then made contact with Hamilton on the exit of the left-hander.

This f**ing guy thinks he's alone on the track," Stroll told his team while Hamilton said he didn't see the Aston Martin driver.

Ultra-close session

Norris was the first to beat Hamilton's FP2 benchmark 45 minutes into the session with a 1m13.043s.

That time was set on his second push lap on that set of soft tyres after he had to abandon his first lap when he encountered traffic in the final sector, suggesting there's more time to come from the McLaren.

Leclerc was fastest in both the first and second sector but he had to settle for third place overall, just 0.037s adrift of session-topping team-mate Sainz.

Max Verstappen was fourth fastest for Red Bull, albeit still only 0.074s slower than Sainz's best.

George Russell and Hamilton were fifth and sixth for Mercedes, the latter lost time on his final flying lap by dipping a wheel in the gravel.

A similar gravel trip meant Oscar Piastri was only 10th in the second McLaren.

Sergio Perez, who has to take a three-place grid penalty this weekend, was seventh in the second Red Bull ahead of Alex Albon and Fernando Alonso.

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