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Montreal FP3: Verstappen tops but it’s very close

Max Verstappen made it a clean sweep of practice sessions by topping FP3 on day two of the Canadian Grand Prix weekend, the Red Bull driver has refound his form and to a certain extent silenced his detractors for now.

Verstappen found the sweet spot to end top the timesheets, after both sessions on the first day at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in the aftermath of a troubled weekend in Monaco and the week heading to Montreal packed with criticism of his driving style

On Saturday morning, in glorious conditions over the Ile Notre Dame, Verstappen clearly meant business as he watched his rivals go to the top of the timing screens before delivering his own scorcher to take the top spot with a best lap time of 1:11.599 using a set of the Pirelli Ultrasoft tyres.

This was a half-second quicker than his best time set the previous day as teams wind up the power and fine tune for qualifying in the afternoon.

It was close at the top of the timesheets with the top four separated by a tenth of a second, next up and fractionally slower were Ferrari duo Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen, second and third respectively, followed by Lewis Hamilton who sampled the Ultrasofts for the first time this weekend was fourth in the Mercedes.

Making up for lost time after his troubled first day, Daniel Ricciardo put his head down and did the graft to rack up more laps than anyone else in the hour-long morning session. He was fifth quickest albeit half a second down on his teammate’s best.

Also lagging way behind his teammate was Valtteri Bottas, sixth quickest and also half a second shy of his own teammate.

Best of the Rest, in seventh 1.3 seconds off the top time was Sergio Perez in the Force India who was four-hundredths of a second up on the Renault of Nico Hulkenberg in eighth, followed by Haas driver Romain Grosjean in ninth and McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne rounding out the top ten.

The midfield pack are also very close with about a quarter of a separating Perez in seventh and Mclaren’s Fernando Alonso down in 13th.