The last practice session before the qualifying for the Azerbaijan GP seen Sergio Perez with 1:43.170s, Charles Leclerc with 1:43.240s and Max Verstappen with 1:43.449s in top three. The rest who completed the top ten of the session were: Sainz, Norris, Ricciardo, Gasly, Russell, Ocon and Vettel.
The third free practice session start was delayed by FIA, due to damaged caused during the F2 race and reparations related to that. The drivers got a green light once the barriers were repaired.
The track conditions were beautiful though, with 26C of air temperature and 47C of track temperature. The wind that the drivers have complained the day before didn’t seem to be as strong as then, so it will be interesting to see if it will have any impact on the extreme porpoising we’ve seen in some of the cars. Although all of the teams have been affected by it, some seemed to struggle more with it than others.
In the first minutes of the session, the duo that got out immediately were the Aston Martin drivers. Stroll had a slight touch with the wall in FP1 so he’d definitely want to explore some clean runs. The other drivers that went fast on track were the Haas and the Mercedes drivers.
Majority of them went only for a warmup and came back for pits, besides Vettel who went back on track.
Ten minutes down the clock and more drivers found their way to the track: including the Alfa Romeo and Ferrari drivers, as well as Haas, Mercedes and Aston drivers who already went out before. Tsunoda also joined the group for some track time.
The first driver to establish a competitive time was Russell, but was soon replaced by Sainz on the top of the leaderboard, with the time of 1:46.4s. His teammate, Charles Leclerc, fast enough started to gain on Sainz and established a 1:45.260s, replacing Sainz at the top. Soon enough also Kevin Magnussen found himself in the mix between Ferrari and Mercedes, which is great for Haas after Schumacher’s car failure yesterday.
20 minutes down the clock and all of the drivers went on track. Perez found himself high up the standings, with P2 and 0.243s down from Leclerc’s P1 time. Sainz and Russell decided to battle out who’s getting best sector times, with Sainz’s purple sector two and three and Russell’s purple sector one. On the main straight you could see the impact of porpoising on both Mercedes and Ferrari, which definitely will leave a slight migraine.
Leclerc’s fastest time so far in the session was 1:44.661s, but soon enough he was replaced by Checo Perez, with the 1:44.416s. The track evolution was high as with every lap the conditions were improving, which also naturally improved the times. Verstappen set the second fastest time but was not yet able to catch up with Checo.
Midway through the session, the top ten was: Leclerc, Perez, Sainz, Verstappen, Gasly, Russell, Hamilton, Vettel, Ricciardo and Norris. Around 25 minutes before the end everyone went back to the pits for a breather. Soon enough Latifi was the only driver on track.
15 minutes before the end and drivers slowly started to make their way back to the track. Leclerc still topped the leaderboard followed by two Red Bulls and his teammate Sainz. Soon enough we’ve got a yellow flag in sector one, which was caused by Valtteri Bottas who spun by the runoff. Fortunately for him and his team - no damage, as he was able to continue his session.
After the clock run to zero, here’s the final Top Ten of the FP3: