French GP FP3 Report: Verstappen Dominates as Hamilton’s F1 Struggles Continue

Published 06/19/2021, 7:05 AM EDT
Formula One F1 – French Grand Prix – Circuit Paul Ricard, Le Castellet, France – June 19, 2021 Red Bull’s Max Verstappen in action during practice REUTERS/Eric Gaillard


After two practice sessions on Friday, the last practice session at the French Grand Prix came to a close. With qualifying fast approaching, drivers made good use of their last opportunity to push their cars to the limit in Le Castellet.

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Red Bull and Mercedes continued their battle at the top of the timesheets, with Max Verstappen finishing ahead of Valtteri Bottas. However, it was the battle in the midfield that yielded an interesting look at the timesheets.

Red Bull threat looms as Mercedes finish behind them in FP3

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Although Verstappen didn’t finish at the top in the first practice session yesterday, he topped the timesheets in the second session. In today’s session, however, the Dutchman set himself above the rest, finishing seven-tenths ahead of Valtteri Bottas.

Formula One F1 – French Grand Prix – Circuit Paul Ricard, Le Castellet, France – June 19, 2021 Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas in action during practice REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

Despite having a lap time deleted during the session because of track limits, the 23-year-old put in a blistering lap on soft tires to put Red Bull on top of the timesheets.

His title rival, Lewis Hamilton, finished P5, behind Sergio Perez. In addition, the Briton finished nine-tenths behind Verstappen in FP3.

Despite these times, the battle for pole looks to be between Hamilton, Verstappen and Bottas. With the Finn having a lot to prove this weekend, a pole position would do wonders for his confidence.

Ferrari make a strong comeback, with Alpine building on their good form

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Carlos Sainz impressed by putting in the third fastest time of the session. While the Spaniard put in a great lap, his teammate Charles Leclerc finished the session in P11.

However, among the midfield teams, Alpine F1 impressed the most, with Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon finishing P7 and P8, respectively. The French team look to be the favorites among the midfield teams to make it to Q3 later today.

McLaren put in a good showing, with Lando Norris P6 and Daniel Ricciardo P10. AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly put his car in P9, giving the Italian outfit hope for qualifying later today.

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With the practice sessions now done, the qualifying sessions later today look set to have major implications for the season.

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Sanket Nair

317 articles

Sanket Nair is an F1 Author at EssentiallySports. A Sports Management student, he is a huge fan of Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo and hopes to see Red Bull break Mercedes' dominance and win the World Championship soon. Sanket has been hooked to the sport ever since he watched the battle for the 2010 World Championship go down to the wire at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

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