Saudi Arabia GP: Max Verstappen leads Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez to complete Jeddah training treble

Max Verstappen dominated final practice to finish 0.6 seconds behind Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez; Fernando Alonso third as Aston Martin remains best of the rest; Watch Saudi Arabia GP qualifying live Saturday from 4pm on Sky Sports F1

Last update: 03/18/23 15:10


Max Verstappen dominated all three practice sessions at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

Max Verstappen led team-mate Sergio Perez to a practice hat-trick at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix as Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso remained Red Bull’s closest challenger.

The reigning world champion continued his dominant form as he clocked a 1:28.485 to finish more than 0.6 seconds ahead of Perez, with Alonso just under a second behind the Dutchman in third on the fastest street circuit in Formula 1 in Jeddah.

With Red Bull emerging as strong favorites for qualifying later on Saturday and Sunday’s race, the battle behind them promises to be a thrilling one with just half a second covering Alonso and the 12 cars that finished behind him.

Lance Stroll underlined Aston Martin’s strength by moving behind Alonso in fourth, while Lewis Hamilton improved on his Friday performance to finish fifth for Mercedes.

Charles Leclerc, who will receive a 10-place grid penalty in Sunday’s race after taking new parts, finished sixth, but Ferrari did little to allay fears over their reliability as both of their drivers seemed to work with their newly installed power units for it. weekend running well below full capacity.

Verstappen narrowly misses Lando Norris as he walks away with his P3 error at the Saudi Arabian GP.

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Verstappen narrowly misses Lando Norris as he walks away with his P3 error at the Saudi Arabian GP.

Verstappen narrowly misses Lando Norris as he walks away with his P3 error at the Saudi Arabian GP.

McLaren finally got some encouragement when Lando Norris finished seventh, one place – and only a few thousandths of a second – ahead of rookie team-mate Oscar Pisatri.

Pierre Gasly showed enough to suggest Alpine can be part of what promises to be an extremely unpredictable qualifying contest, finishing ninth ahead of Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz and Mercedes’ George Russell.

The big losers of the session were AlphaTauri, who couldn’t send Nyck de Vries onto the track after a technical issue forced them to change his power pack, while teammate Yuki Tsunoda was last among those who set times.

The late afternoon session provides an imperfect indicator of how qualifying will go under the lights later on Saturday, but the fact that the track temperature dropped amid thick cloud cover made the more representative conditions.

After leading a dominating Red Bull double in the season-opening race in Bahrain earlier this month, Verstappen looks set to pursue a dream start to the campaign which he hopes will yield a third title consecutive pilot.

“Sergio is still a big chunk of Max as well,” said Sky Sports F1’s Damon Hill. “It indicates complete dominance here by the Red Bulls and Max, so we’re going to have to hope for a few battles behind them.”

Former F1 world champion Nico Rosberg insists his former Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton is still

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Former F1 world champion Nico Rosberg insists his former Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton is still “super motivated” despite the team’s current problems.

Former F1 world champion Nico Rosberg insists his former Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton is still “super motivated” despite the team’s current problems.

With Ferrari looking unsure of its engines and Mercedes looking to rebuild after accepting it took the wrong path with its design concept, it’s Alonso and Aston Martin who seem best placed to capitalize on Red’s misadventures. Bull.

The only discomfort Verstappen felt in final practice was self-inflicted, with the Dutchman almost causing a crash as he failed to get away from the fast Norris while slowly moving forward on the approach to Turn 8.

Verstappen sided with Norris in apology and faced no punishment for an incident the drivers would be penalized for if it happened during qualifying.

Timesheet of the third practice of the Saudi Arabian GP

DriverCrewTime
1) Max VerstappenRed Bull1:29.603
2) Sergio PerezRed Bull+0.613
3) Fernando AlonsoAston Martin+0.998
4) Start the walkAston Martin+1.024
5) Lewis Hamiltonmercedes+1.083
6) Charles LeclercFerrari+1.103
7) Lando NorrisMcLaren+1.205
8) Oscar PiastriMcLaren+1.213
9) Pierre GaslyAlpine+1.216
10) Carlos SainzFerrari+1.276
11) George Russellmercedes+1.326
12) Zhou GuanyuAlfa Romeo+1.432
13) Nico HulkenbergHaas+1.448
14) Esteban OconAlpine+1.468
15) Alex Albonwilliams+1.498
16) Logan Sargeantwilliams+1.550
17) Kevin MagnussenHaas+1.646
18) Valtteri BottasAlfa Romeo+1.832
19) Yuki TsunodaAlpha Tauri+2.312
20) Nyck de VriesAlpha Taurino time

Formula 1 street racing is back! Watch the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix live on Sky Sports F1 this weekend. Saturday qualifying and Sunday’s race are live at 5 p.m. Get Sky Sports



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