Event: Spanish Grand Prix
Track: Catalunya Circuit

Weather: dry/wet/dry  21-20°C
Tarmac: dry/wet/dry  27-23°C
Humidity: 70-79%
Wind: 2 km/h SW
Pressure: 1001 bar

Verstappen Shines Despite Shaky Weather Conditions

The weather was fickle for the third and final practice session of the 2023 Spanish Grand Prix, with blue skies sometimes giving way to ominous storm clouds. Despite the ever-changing conditions, Max Verstappen of Red Bull Racing dominated FP3, leading the field with his impressive time set early on before the drizzle set in.

Verstappen, the Dutch powerhouse who currently leads the drivers' standings, showed little hesitation in his run, leaving no stone unturned ahead of the qualifying. His teammate Sergio Perez and Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton trailed behind, although the standings at the end of the session might not entirely reflect the dynamics throughout.

There were moments of contention, most notably involving Sainz and de Vries, causing some disturbance. The incident occurred at Turn 12, where de Vries was seemingly blocked by Sainz, leading to some heated radio chatter and an eventual stewards' investigation.

McLaren's Lando Norris was the first to venture out onto the still-wet track, albeit on intermediate tyres, perhaps a bit too optimistic considering the conditions. Norris faced some brake issues but ultimately managed to keep it together for the rest of the session.

In the Ferrari camp, both Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz decided to risk running on red-marked slick tyres despite the conditions, potentially helping dry the racing line even more.

A red flag halted proceedings mid-session as Logan Sargeant's Williams ended up beached in the gravel after a misjudgement at the final corner. This incident coincided with light drizzle starting to fall, and with the weather radar predicting more rain, the rest of the session remained somewhat unpredictable.

The top 10 at the halfway mark were:

  1. Max Verstappen, Red Bull (S) - 1:13.664
  2. Sergio Pérez, Red Bull (S) +0.250
  3. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes (S) +0.408
  4. Carlos Sainz, Ferrari (S) +0.576
  5. Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin (S) +0.600
  6. George Russell, Mercedes (S) +0.614
  7. Charles Leclerc, Ferrark (S) +0.689
  8. Valtteri Bottas, Alfa Romeo (S) +0.996
  9. Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri (S) +0.995
  10. Lando Norris, McLaren (S) +1.017

On the technical side, Alpine performed some significant hardware changes, swapping various power unit components for Pierre Gasly's and Esteban Ocon's cars. Meanwhile, Mercedes, despite reported improvements in the car setup, still struggled with driveability issues as expressed by Lewis Hamilton.

Intriguingly, there were contrasting strategies regarding tyre choice, with Pirelli offering C1, C2 and C3 compounds. Some teams opted for softs, aiming to clock in fast laps, while Alpine and Ferrari decided to run on mediums.

Despite the looming threat of rain, the session went on smoothly until the end. With Max Verstappen at the top of the timesheets, today's qualifying session promises to be an exciting event, especially if the rain decides to play a more significant part. As teams adapt their strategies to suit the weather, one thing is clear: track position at the end of the session will be absolutely crucial, especially given the possibility of a green track due to rain washing off the rubber. Stay tuned for more F1 action later today!

The quickest sector times during this free practice were set by:

  1. Max Verstappen with a 21.873
  2. Sergio Pérez with a 29.423
  3. Valtteri Bottas with a 22.266

Last year the quickest lap time of FP3 was a 1:19,772 min, driven by Charles Leclerc with the Ferrari F1-75.

FP3 Times Table 2023 Spanish GP

P No Driver Team Time 1st Gap Laps Tyres
1 1 Max Verstappen Red Bull 1:13,664 13 🔴S
2 11 Sergio Pérez Red Bull 1:13,914 +0,250s 13 🔴S
3 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:14,072 +0,408s 9 🔴S
4 55 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 1:14,240 +0,576s 19 🔴S
5 14 Fernando Alonso Aston Martin 1:14,264 +0,600s 13 🔴S
6 63 George Russell Mercedes 1:14,278 +0,614s 15 🔴S
7 16 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:14,353 +0,689s 17 🔴S
8 77 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo 1:14,360 +0,696s 14 🔴S
9 22 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri 1:14,659 +0,995s 15 🔴S
10 4 Lando Norris McLaren 1:14,681 +1,017s 19 🔴S
11 24 Zhou Guanyu Alfa Romeo 1:14,681 +1,017s 14 🔴S
12 21 Nyck de Vries AlphaTauri 1:14,693 +1,029s 17 🔴S
13 18 Lance Stroll Aston Martin 1:14,756 +1,092s 14 🔴S
14 27 Nico Hülkenberg Haas 1:14,988 +1,324s 11 🔴S
15 81 Oscar Piastri McLaren 1:15,105 +1,441s 16 🔴S
16 31 Esteban Ocon Alpine 1:15,266 +1,602s 14 🟡M
17 20 Kevin Magnussen Haas 1:15,534 +1,870s 11 🔴S
18 10 Pierre Gasly Alpine 1:15,841 +2,177s 13 🟡M
19 23 Alex Albon Williams 1:15,851 +2,187s 13 🔴S
20 2 Logan Sargeant Williams 1:16,529 +2,865s 5 🔴S

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One F1 fan comment on “Third Free Practice Results 2023 Spanish F1 GP

  1. Jere Jyrälä

    Sargeant’s error was weird, as he slightly turned the steering wheel left before losing the rear when touching the curb.
    A small move, big consequence type of situation.


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