As Friday showed, Red Bull do not seem to be enjoying the massive pace advantage they had at Spa last weekend, or they haven’t been able to switch their RB18 on at best, so FP3 should serve as a proper indicator on how Max Verstappen’s home weekend will unravel.
The time the reigning Formula 1 Champion lost in FP1 due to his gearbox troubles definitely did not help his cause, but if anyone can bounce back it should Verstappen and Red Bull.
Ferrari were as good as their words, and seemed to be going well around Zandvoort, fastest of all after FP2, but it remains to be seen of they can execute a clean race weekend, and maybe crash Verstappen’s homecoming.
Mercedes as well were on it, showing much better form than Belgium, as they were right behind the Ferraris, but should Verstappen make a comeback, the Silver Arrows will be relegated further back, as McLaren seem to have a spring in their step around the seaside track.
Zandvoort FP3 Session Highlights
FP3 started in clear conditions as teams and drivers looked to do the final setup work on their cars ahead of qualifying on Saturday afternoon.
Sergio Perez was in a hurry, as he head out early on and registered the firs timed lap of the session, as Max Verstappen soon followed.
Lots of work for Red Bull to do after their missed running on Friday as well as their poor form, as Verstappen’s first effort was a 1:12.309, marginally faster than Charles Leclerc’s best time from FP2.
Verstappen reported sudden loss of grip just after one timed lap, saying: “I just don’t have the grip anymore after one timed lap.”
The Dutchman then went on to go faster, shaving a tenth off his first time. The Red Bull ace is looking good out of the box in FP3 as Leclerc’s first timed effort was over half a second off the pace.
Lewis Hamilton got a taste of his own medicine, as he go slowed down by AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda at Turn 7, after he was all over the place on Friday with his malfunctioning radio.
Verstappen’s pace – on used Soft tyres – prompted a full setup change on Leclerc’s car, as the Monegasque head out on track and went to the top of the timing screens.
Ferrari and Red Bull giving us a taste of qualifying will be, as Mercedes seemed to be in a good place to cause some disturbance for the top two, as George Russell posted a time, 0.066s off Leclerc’s best, with 15 minutes to go.
The Aston Martins were showing a decent turn of speed in FP3, with both cars featuring in the top ten, but the challenge will be to carry that form into qualifying, as they used to show promise in FP3 only for the pace to evaporate later on.