Barcelona weekend shaping up to be another tight Max Verstappen vs Lewis Hamilton head-to-head after Red Bull come to the fore in final practice; Watch Qualifying live at 2pm on Sky Sports F1, with build-up from 1pm
Last Updated: 08/05/21 12:16pm
Max Verstappen proved that Red Bull are right in the hunt to end Mercedes’ long dominance of Spanish GP qualifying by narrowly outpacing Lewis Hamilton in a hugely-competitive final practice session at Barcelona.
As suspected, Verstappen’s ninth-place finish on Friday was the ultimate red herring after the Dutchman outpaced Hamilton by two tenths of a second on Saturday morning with a best lap of 1:17.835.
Verstappen has now topped all four Practice Three sessions this season, although his conversion ratio for pole position in qualifying is currently one from three.
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“It’s great to see,” said Sky F1’s Jenson Button. “Yesterday we were wondering where the Red Bull was, and today Max has just put in a lovely lap. But still there’s more time in the last sector for him. But the same for Lewis, neither of them got the last sector together.
“The two of them are very, very close in lap time so a great fight today.”
The top two had a half a second on third place, with Valtteri Bottas only fifth after slipping behind the fast and improved Ferraris.
Lando Norris was sixth for McLaren despite a trip through the Turn 10 gravel trap, with AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly seventh ahead of the other McLaren of Daniel Ricciardo.
Kimi Raikkonen was the session’s star performer in ninth for Alfa Romeo, just eight tenths of a second of Verstappen’s pace and ahead of the other Red Bull of Sergio Perez.
Qualifying begins at 2pm, with Sky F1 build-up from 1pm, at the Circuit de Catalunya.
More to follow…