German Grand Prix – Charles Leclerc has gone fastest for Ferrari in third and final practice at Hockenheim, just ahead of Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen.
Charles Leclerc has gone fastest in final practice at Hockenheim, getting his Ferrari around the track in 1:12.380 on the Soft tyre.
With track temperatures at the Hockenheimring cooler on Saturday morning than was seen throughout Friday practice, the expectation was that Mercedes would resume their position at the head of the field. However, right from the start of FP3, Ferrari always seemed to have an answer for Mercedes.
After a relatively quiet first fifteen minutes of the session, Leclerc became the first driver of the weekend to dip under the 1:13 laptime marker with a 1:12.736. Vettel’s first proper effort was half a second off the pace of his teammate, while Max Verstappen’s first proper run put him into P3.
With the Mercedes drivers down in P4 and P11 at the halfway mark of the session, they opted to make some setup changes to their W10s. This included a change of sidepods to more aggressive ones, reducing the cooling, and this did seem to pay off in terms of laptime.
Charles Leclerc, in the meantime, had lowered the benchmark time down to 1:12.380, with Vettel slotting into P2 about a quarter of a second behind his teammate. Now with his new sidepods, Lewis Hamilton went out and promptly did a 1:12.7 but had his time deleted for exceeding track limits at the final corner – several drivers having their times deleted over the course of the one hour session.
Leclerc’s time would go unbeaten until the end of the FP3 session, with Max Verstappen improving his best to go P2 and just over a tenth behind the Ferrari. Vettel would finish in P3, with Valtteri Bottas improving to go P4 with a 1:12.890 at the flag.
Kevin Magnussen was a stellar P5 for Haas, using his upgraded VF19 to slot ahead of Lewis Hamilton’s eventual best permitted laptime of 1:12.965.
Carlos Sainz finished P7 for McLaren, just ahead of the rebuilt Red Bull of Pierre Gasly following his crash on Friday afternoon. Kimi Raikkonen finished P9, another driver to fall foul of the stringent track limits at the final corner, and the top ten was rounded out by Romain Grosjean’s Haas – the French driver running his VF19 in the same spec it ran at the season opener in Australia back in March.
Outside the top ten, Sergio Perez finished P11 in his newly updated Racing Point. He was less than a tenth clear of Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg, while Alex Albon was P13 for Toro Rosso. Compared to his McLaren teammate, Lando Norris seemed to struggle in FP3 as he rounded up in P14 while Antonio Giovinazzi finished P15 for Alfa Romeo.
Lace Stroll was P16 in the second Racing Point, Daniil Kvyat P17 for Toro Rosso and Daniel Ricciardo P18 in the second Renault.
The bottom two cars were, unsurprisingly, the Williams drivers with Robert Kubica ahead of George Russell.