After the time lost on Friday afternoon due to red flags in Free Practice 2, it was the moment for the team to push hard to find where they really are in terms of pure performance. Track conditions are still tricky, with an air temperature of 27°C and a track temperature of 50°C.
After his bad crash yesterday, Valtteri Bottas is the first to set a fast time in 1:05.510. The Finn already won here two years ago, so he has to recover confidence for today’s qualifying.
Morning issues for Pierre Gasly, as the Frenchman reported engine problems in his Red Bull Honda. Spec 3 Honda engine surely represented a step ahead for the Austrian team, but the Japanese manufacturer still have to face a lack of reliability.
After the first half of the FP3, Leclerc was the clearly the fastest on track with a lap time of 1:04.275, almost four tenths of a second in front. But with 18 minutes to go, Valtteri Bottas put his Mercedes back on top in 1:04.221 on red tyres.
Just a couple minutes later Charles Leclerc was back on top in another soft tyres lap in 1:04.120, with Sebastian Vettel behind him in third position with a 1.04.356. Finally also Lewis Hamilton just +0.010 behind Leclerc, in 1:04.130.
Leclerc kept pushing on his Pirelli C4 tyres and after two cooldown lap, he even improved his time in 1:03.987, with just ten minutes to go. Also Vettel improved in 1:04.250 with the other Ferrari SF90.
Last minute time attack was not successful for any of the top driver, as Charles Leclerc retained his P1 for Free Practice 3. Lewis Hamilton was second in front of his teammate Valtteri Bottas, then Sebastian Vettel and Max Verstappen to close top 5. Lando Norris is once again best of the rest in sixth position, just in front of Red Bull's Pierre Gasly.