Dutch Gp, Saturday Morning was busy, with Kimi getting Covid replaced by Robert Kubica. Max has been to see the stewards for the red flag violation but was cleared of any violation later. The sun is shining and so is the green light. FP3 in Dutch Gp at Zandvoort is a go.
Dutch Gp FP3
One thing is for sure it will be worth keeping an eye on Ferrari today. They finished up the order with both drivers in FP1 before Charles Leclerc topped the afternoon session from his teammate. While the runs of Red Bull and Mercedes were disrupted, it was still a very solid first day for the Scuderia and they could spring a surprise later.
Understandably, Kubica is the first to head out with just one hour to learn this track, which will be completely new to him. Not the easiest place to be an 11th-hour replacement, but he’ll still relish the opportunity to drive that Alfa in anger.
Hamilton is another driver to head out early, having lost his soft tyre runs in FP2 thanks to that PU issue. Incidentally, the team have swapped his PU overnight in what was a planned change, and he is still using components from his ‘pool’ so has no penalties as a result.
Being so close to the seaside here and breezy as a result, dust does tend to get blown onto the track so it does take a while for that to be cleared by the cars and the track to rubber back in and grip up. F3 saw 3 wide in turn 3 so it might be a good opportunity but you have to be brave.
Medium tyres for the McLaren boys, along with Mazepin and Tsunoda – expect them all to swap to the soft tyres midway through the session assuming there are no interruptions, and conduct their qualifying simulation runs once the track is slightly more rubbered in. The likes of Hamilton and Kubica are straight out on the softs, with qualifying pace firmly at the front of their minds.
Session Resumed in Dutch Gp
Verstappen is the only driver yet to take to the track today and the minutes are ticking down here thanks to this incident, with more missed running for the pack. Still, at least the Dutchman managed plenty of laps yesterday, unlike his title rival who will be keen to get going here.
The tyres don’t seem to be holding on quite so well today, with graining being reported on the radio and a few lock-ups clear to see. It is 17 Degrees Celsius out there, with a track temperature of 30 Degrees so very comparable to FP2 yesterday in terms of conditions.
The fast laps are coming in left, right and centre now with Russell the latest to slot into the top 10 – the Williams man going sixth quickest overall. That’s a much better showing by Williams, who had a tricky day yesterday, pace-wise in Dutch Gp.
Time for the crowd to get involved and they are on their feet, cheers ringing out as Verstappen opens up for a flying lap. It is a purple first sector, the same in the second, make that fastest through all three sectors, with Verstappen going top with a 1m 09.623s, over half a second up on Bottas. Ouch. Over to you Mercedes.
Into the final few moments and down at the other end of the leaderboard, Kubica is sitting in p18, ahead of the two Haas boys. Beating those two will be the first target here this weekend, with challenging his teammate likely to be a long shot, given his lack of experience at this track.
So this is shaping up to be an excellent final session for Red Bull, who don’t just have their title protagonist top, but top by a considerable margin. With Perez providing able backup, this is all boding rather well for the team heading into qualifying.