Spanish GP: Hamilton outpaces Leclerc by 0.5s in FP3

Scott Mitchell

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 F1 W10 EQ Power+ Mercedes 14 1'16.568
2 Monaco Charles Leclerc
Ferrari SF90 Ferrari 16 1'17.099 0.531
3 Finland Valtteri Bottas
Mercedes F1 W10 EQ Power+ Mercedes 9 1'17.123 0.555
4 Germany Sebastian Vettel
Ferrari SF90 Ferrari 15 1'17.172 0.604
5 France Romain Grosjean
Haas-Ferrari VF-19 Haas 15 1'17.192 0.624
6 Denmark Kevin Magnussen
Haas-Ferrari VF-19 Haas 15 1'17.530 0.962
7 Netherlands Max Verstappen
Red Bull Racing-Honda RB15 Red Bull 12 1'17.558 0.990
8 Thailand Alex Albon
Scuderia Toro Rosso-Honda STR14 Toro Rosso 16 1'17.864 1.296
9 Finland Kimi Raikkonen
Alfa Romeo Racing-Ferrari C38 Alfa Romeo 17 1'17.969 1.401
10 Spain Carlos Sainz Jr.
McLaren-Renault MCL34 McLaren 17 1'18.003 1.435
11 Russian Federation Daniil Kvyat
Scuderia Toro Rosso-Honda STR14 Toro Rosso 17 1'18.105 1.537
12 Germany Nico Hulkenberg
Renault R.S.19 Renault 17 1'18.350 1.782
13 Mexico Sergio Perez
Racing Point-Mercedes RP19 Racing Point 12 1'18.656 2.088
14 France Pierre Gasly
Red Bull Racing-Honda RB15 Red Bull 12 1'18.693 2.125
15 Canada Lance Stroll
Racing Point-Mercedes RP19 Racing Point 16 1'18.734 2.166
16 Italy Antonio Giovinazzi
Alfa Romeo Racing-Ferrari C38 Alfa Romeo 14 1'18.740 2.172
17 Australia Daniel Ricciardo
Renault R.S.19 Renault 14 1'18.974 2.406
18 United Kingdom Lando Norris
McLaren-Renault MCL34 McLaren 14 1'19.007 2.439
19 United Kingdom George Russell
Williams-Mercedes FW42 Williams 16 1'19.421 2.853
20 Poland Robert Kubica
Williams-Mercedes FW42 Williams 18 1'20.570 4.002
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