Saturday morning started with a completely different weather situation from the one we saw on Friday practices. During the night an heavy rain led to temperatures falling down in Hockenheim, where track air temperatures went from 38 celsius degress to just 26. With this kind of weather, Ferrari should have struggled a bit more against Mercedes, but that was not the case of Free Practice 3.
After a first half of the session with Ferrari already on top with Leclerc and Vettel, second half was finally time for some qualifying simulation. It’s 15 minutes to the end when Mercedes started to push a bit with Valtteri Bottas improving in 1:12.890 with soft tyres, but he is almost half a second behind Charles Leclerc.
Leclerc improved further more in 1:12.380, as Max Verstappen heads to second with a 1:12.548 between the two Ferraris. Ten minutes to go and Hamilton rised up to fourth place, but he is still 4 tenths of a second slower than Leclerc and his lap time was also cancelled due to exceeding track limits. Five minutes to chequered flag and Hamilton continued pushing to go sixth, just behind Valtteri Bottas and Kevin Magnussen who had a strong performance in his Haas.
Sebastian Vettel closed in third position, with just the Red Bull dividing the two Ferrari drivers from what it would be a provisional front-row lock-up. Mercedes is actually out of the virtual podium, as Saturday morning performances surprisingly confirmed what we saw on Friday with much higher temperatures. Qualifying will be some kind of a lottery as we will have more than 40% chance of rain, and the team didn’t have much time to do fine tuning to a single lap setup.