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Formula 1

What happened in final Miami Grand Prix practice

by Jack Cozens
3 min read

Max Verstappen was again head and shoulders clear of any of his Formula 1 rivals in the final practice session ahead of qualifying for the Miami Grand Prix.

Key moments:

> Verstappen spends most of session 0.5s clear

> Leclerc gets a Ferrari into second spot

> Alpines impress in tight midfield

> Mercedes struggles continue with Russell best in 10th

Though the order behind chopped and changed as the field continued to rubber-in the Miami track surface throughout FP3, Verstappen was an almost ever-present fixture at the top of the leaderboard and ended the session 0.406 seconds clear.

As was the case in FP2, that effort was another in which the two-time F1 champion set his best time on a second push lap on soft tyres – with a new benchmark time of 1m27.535s.

A Ferrari was again his closest challenger – this time it was Charles Leclerc – but Verstappen’s continued improvements were such that there was a half-second advantage until the final moments of the session, when Leclerc produced a lap 0.406s off the best.

F1 2023 R05 Fp3

The second Red Bull of Sergio Perez was a tenth further back in third, Perez reporting that he had an “over-delivery [of power] out of Turn 1”, with Carlos Sainz – who’d been Verstappen’s closest challenger for most of the session – fourth and 0.590s back.

The Alpines of Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly were a strong fifth and sixth but at the head of an incredibly tight pack of 10 cars covered by barely over three tenths of a second.

Ocon and Gasly performed well at the start of the session on medium-compound tyres – offset from the rest of the field on softs – while Ocon’s fifth-fastest time was also set well into a stint on softs.

The final four positions completing the top 10 were occupied by four different teams, with Valtteri Bottas producing a strong lap to take seventh for Alfa Romeo ahead of Nico Hulkenberg.

The Haas driver, whose weekend so far has included a crash FP1 then being outpaced by team-mate Kevin Magnussen in FP2, had a cameo appearance in the top five in FP3 and, though he clumped the exit kerb heavily at Turn 7 on the first lap of his final run, improved on his next effort to end the session within a second of the pace.

Alex Albon’s Williams was next up, with George Russell 10th in the fastest of the Mercedes ahead of Magnussen.

Russell reported struggles with the W14 throughout the session, stating towards the end of the session that “I cannot get through Turn 2. So much hopping!”, but ended up a tenth to the good compared to team-mate Lewis Hamilton – who was 13th and sandwiched between the Aston Martins of Fernando Alonso and Lance Stroll.

Lando Norris impressed in FP2 on Friday but was second slowest in final practice, 1.866s off the pace, with McLaren team-mate Oscar Piastri only just ahead of him in 18th.

Practice 3 Results

Pos Name Car Best Time Gap Leader
1 Max Verstappen Red Bull 1m27.535s
2 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1m27.941s +0.406s
3 Sergio Pérez Red Bull 1m28.05s +0.515s
4 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 1m28.125s +0.59s
5 Esteban Ocon Alpine-Renault 1m28.407s +0.872s
6 Pierre Gasly Alpine-Renault 1m28.428s +0.893s
7 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1m28.456s +0.921s
8 Nico Hülkenberg Haas-Ferrari 1m28.497s +0.962s
9 Alex Albon Williams-Mercedes 1m28.561s +1.026s
10 George Russell Mercedes 1m28.606s +1.071s
11 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 1m28.607s +1.072s
12 Fernando Alonso Aston Martin-Mercedes 1m28.618s +1.083s
13 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m28.718s +1.183s
14 Lance Stroll Aston Martin-Mercedes 1m28.723s +1.188s
15 Guanyu Zhou Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1m29.074s +1.539s
16 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri-Honda RBPT 1m29.179s +1.644s
17 Logan Sargeant Williams-Mercedes 1m29.264s +1.729s
18 Oscar Piastri McLaren-Mercedes 1m29.375s +1.84s
19 Lando Norris McLaren-Mercedes 1m29.401s +1.866s
20 Nyck de Vries AlphaTauri-Honda RBPT 1m29.447s +1.912s
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