Saudi Arabian Grand Prix | Verstappen is fastest in the third free practice session

(Jeddah) Red Bull driver Max Verstappen dominated the third free practice session of the Formula 1 Grand Prix of Saudi Arabia on Friday, which was however marked by the absence of Spaniard Carlos Sainz Jr., who had to forfeit the weekend due to appendicitis.

Verstappen set the fastest time in the third free practice session, lapping the Jeddah circuit in one minute and 28,412 seconds. The three-time reigning world champion shaved 0.196 seconds off Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc’s time, and 0.494 seconds off that of his teammate Sergio Perez.

George Russell, on Mercedes, and Lando Norris, on McLaren, completed the top-5. For his part, Quebecer Lance Stroll recorded the seventh time, finishing one place behind his teammate Fernando Alonso in the standings.

Aside from the results on the track, it was the absence of Sainz that caught the attention at the start of the day on Friday. Suffering from appendicitis, he had to withdraw and give way to 18-year-old British driver Oliver Bearman, who this weekend gets his chance to make his career debut in the premier event of motorsport.

Sainz was diagnosed with appendicitis and required surgery, Ferrari said in a statement.

“The procedure is over. Everything went well and Carlos is now resting in the hospital. We send him all our support and hope that he recovers quickly,” mentioned the Italian team.

Bearman, a Ferrari reserve driver who usually competes in Formula 2, will take Sainz’s place in the red car for the remainder of the weekend, and he was behind the wheel for the third free practice session.

He recorded the 10e session time and looked out of place in Formula 1.

His main goal was to gain experience in the single-seater, so he focused on longer race simulations. Bearman completed 22 laps, more than any other driver, in a session that was interrupted when Zhou Guanyu sent his Sauber into the barriers.

Bearman will become the third youngest driver to start a Formula 1 race, after Verstappen and Stroll, who were 17 and 18 respectively when they competed in their first career event.

The Briton had already participated in two free practice sessions in Mexico and Abu Dhabi last year as a test driver for the Haas team. He won the leading position in Formula 2 this weekend, but he will no longer participate in this event.

Sainz took part in the first two free practice sessions in Saudi Arabia on Thursday, setting the sixth and seventh fastest times. However, he admitted that he was not feeling well and that it was affecting his driving.

“It’s obviously a very difficult day. I don’t feel well, so the last 24 hours have been difficult for me,” he admitted on Thursday.

After the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, the F1 circus will move to Australia, with a view to the event scheduled for March 24 on the Melbourne circuit.

Timings of the third free practice session

  1. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) 1: 28, 412
  2. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) 1: 28, 608
  3. Sergio Pérez (Red Bull) 1: 28, 906
  4. George Russell (Mercedes) 1:28,964
  5. Lando Norris (McLaren-Mercedes) 1: 28, 971
  6. Fernando Alonso (Aston Martin-Mercedes) 1: 29.038
  7. Lance Stroll (Aston Martin-Mercedes) 1: 29, 127
  8. Oscar Piastri (McLaren-Mercedes) 1: 29, 213
  9. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 1: 29, 268
  10. Oliver Bearman (Ferrari) 1: 29, 306
  11. Kevin Magnussen (Haas-Ferrari) 1: 29, 485
  12. Pierre Gasly (Alpine-Renault) 1: 29, 546
  13. Yuki Tsunoda (Racing Bulls-Red Bull) 1: 29, 572
  14. Esteban Ocon (Alpine-Renault) 1: 29, 575
  15. Nico Hülkenberg (Haas-Ferrari) 1: 29, 675
  16. Daniel Ricciardo (/Racing Bulls-Red Bull) 1: 29, 740
  17. Alexander Albon (Williams-Mercedes) 1: 29, 808
  18. Valtteri Bottas (Sauber-Ferrari) 1: 30, 083
  19. Zhou Guanyu (Sauber-Ferrari) 1: 30, 739
  20. Logan Sargeant (Williams-Mercedes) 0000


Leave a Comment