Max Verstappen went comfortably fastest in a wet final practice for the Dutch Grand Prix, as Liam Lawson completed 23 laps in his first session as a Formula 1 driver, which included a red-flag inducing spin.
> Verstappen and Russell a step ahead of the rest
> F1 debutant Lawson causes red flag with recoverable spin
> Lawson’s off was red flag three after Magnussen and Zhou
The session only really came alive in the final 20 minutes once the worst of the rain had cleared, allowing the 18 cars still in final practice at that point to fit intermediate tyres.
Drivers had split their limited running in the 40 minutes beforehand, in which Kevin Magnussen and Zhou Guanyu both caused red flags having spun, between the wet and intermediate tyres as rain initially intensified at Zandvoort.
Both the aforementioned offs ended the respective drivers’ sessions, albeit while Zhou’s Alfa was simply beached in the gravel, Magnussen’s Haas had a substantial impact with the barrier, much to the annoyance of team principal Guenther Steiner.
🚩 RED FLAG 🚩
— Formula 1 (@F1) August 26, 2023
The other side of Zhou’s off, the Alfa Romeo driver having spun on intermediates as the rear stepped out on him between the final two corners, FP2 pacesetter Lando Norris twice went fastest for McLaren – having gone a second faster than the chasing pack, led by team-mate Oscar Piastri.
By the time a third red flag was shown – this time for F1 debutant Liam Lawson, who spun approaching the final corner but was able to recover to the pits – that gap was down to 0.097s between the McLarens and times subsequently tumbled in the final eight minutes as conditions continued to improve.
Verstappen, who’d been comfortably fastest in the early part of the session, was again well ahead in those final stages with his advantage peaking at more than a second.
In the end, the Red Bull driver’s best time of 1m21.631s was 0.379s up on George Russell’s second-fastest time – the Mercedes driver having jumped up the order himself in the closing stages.
Verstappen’s Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez ended FP3 third-fastest, albeit a second off the pace, ahead of the Aston Martin of Fernando Alonso and the second Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton.
Williams’s strong Zandvoort form continued in the wet as Alex Albon posted the sixth-fastest time, with Piastri the fastest of the McLaren drivers in the end in seventh.
Team-mate Norris completed the top 10, with the Alfa Romeo of Valtteri Bottas and Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari between the two MCL60s in the times.
Leclerc didn’t have an especially happy session, running deep and into the runoff at the first corner multiple times.
Ferrari team-mate Carlos Sainz, who was 12th, and 16th-place finisher Esteban Ocon were among the others to do so.
Anotha one 🚩
Lawson loses it in the final corner and makes minor contact with the wall, but he spins the car back the right way and is back in the pits
— Formula 1 (@F1) August 26, 2023
Having recovered to the pits under his own steam following his spin, Lawson ended the session 18th as he built up for his grand prix debut at AlphaTauri in place of the injured Daniel Ricciardo.
Practice 3 Results
|Pos||Name||Car||Best Time||Gap Leader|
|1||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||1m21.631s|
|3||Sergio Pérez||Red Bull||1m22.631s||+1s|
|4||Fernando Alonso||Aston Martin-Mercedes||1m22.634s||+1.003s|
|8||Valtteri Bottas||Alfa Romeo-Ferrari||1m22.965s||+1.334s|
|13||Yuki Tsunoda||AlphaTauri-Honda RBPT||1m23.544s||+1.913s|
|17||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin-Mercedes||1m24.058s||+2.427s|
|18||Liam Lawson||AlphaTauri-Honda RBPT||1m26.343s||+4.712s|
|19||Guanyu Zhou||Alfa Romeo-Ferrari||1m28.482s||+6.851s|