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Spanish GP: Hamilton outpaces Leclerc by 0.5s in FP3

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Spanish GP: Hamilton outpaces Leclerc by 0.5s in FP3
By:
May 11, 2019, 11:10 AM

Lewis Hamilton dominated final practice for the Spanish Grand Prix as a late off for George Russell prevented any final improvements ahead of Formula 1 qualifying.

Mercedes driver Hamilton enjoyed a commanding advantage over the chasing Ferraris in FP3, which ended under red flags when Russell lost the rear of his Williams at Turn 4 and ended up in the wall backwards after travelling through the gravel.

That stopped three drivers – Red Bull's Pierre Gasly, Renault driver Nico Hulkenberg and McLaren's Lando Norris – completing a final new-tyre run and some from improving on a second flying lap on softs.

However, it did nothing to impact the gap Hamilton had over the next-best driver, Charles Leclerc.

Hamilton's eventual best was a 1m16.568s, more than half a second clear of the two Ferraris.

Leclerc pipped Sebastian Vettel by 0.073s, a tiny margin that was still big enough for Valtteri Bottas to slot into and steal third from Vettel.

Bottas's session started badly when he caused a seven-minute red flag by spinning on his out-lap at Turn 5 and beaching his car in the gravel.

After the Mercedes was recovered Bottas did join the action but the Friday pacesetter ended up 0.555s slower than teammate Hamilton.

Vettel, demoted to fourth by Bottas's improvement, had his own spin when he lost the rear mid-corner at the chicane early in the session.

He ended up only a fraction faster than the leading Haas of Romain Grosjean as the American team challenged the established frontrunners in final practice.

Grosjean believes Haas can "play" with Red Bull in Spain and his pace in FP3, 0.624s off the pace and within a tenth of both Ferraris and Bottas.

Kevin Magnussen also got ahead of the two Red Bulls in the second Haas, lapping sixth fastest and 0.962s off the pace.

Max Verstappen was Red Bull's leading man, partly thanks to Gasly being denied a final run.

Verstappen was fractionally slower than Magnussen, 0.990s behind Hamilton, but encountered traffic in the final sector of his first lap on new tyres at the end of the session.

Toro Rosso driver Alex Albon finished the session eighth, while Kimi Raikkonen's Alfa Romeo and the McLaren of Carlos Sainz completed the top 10.

Cla Driver Chassis Laps Time Gap
1 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 14 1'16.568  
2 Monaco Charles Leclerc Ferrari 16 1'17.099 0.531
3 Finland Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 9 1'17.123 0.555
4 Germany Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 15 1'17.172 0.604
5 France Romain Grosjean Haas 15 1'17.192 0.624
6 Denmark Kevin Magnussen Haas 15 1'17.530 0.962
7 Netherlands Max Verstappen Red Bull 12 1'17.558 0.990
8 Thailand Alex Albon Toro Rosso 16 1'17.864 1.296
9 Finland Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo 17 1'17.969 1.401
10 Spain Carlos Sainz Jr. McLaren 17 1'18.003 1.435
11 Russian Federation Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 17 1'18.105 1.537
12 Germany Nico Hulkenberg Renault 17 1'18.350 1.782
13 Mexico Sergio Perez Racing Point 12 1'18.656 2.088
14 France Pierre Gasly Red Bull 12 1'18.693 2.125
15 Canada Lance Stroll Racing Point 16 1'18.734 2.166
16 Italy Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo 14 1'18.740 2.172
17 Australia Daniel Ricciardo Renault 14 1'18.974 2.406
18 United Kingdom Lando Norris McLaren 14 1'19.007 2.439
19 United Kingdom George Russell Williams 16 1'19.421 2.853
20 Poland Robert Kubica Williams 18 1'20.570 4.002
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About this article

Series Formula 1
Event Spanish GP
Author Scott Mitchell