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Formula 1 Canadian Grand Prix 2024

Hamilton stuns in final practice as Verstappen again finds fault with his Red Bull

After Friday's weather woes, the drivers were finally able to get in some meaningful running in final practice.

Hamilton FP3 Canada
To news overview © XPBimages

Lewis Hamilton delivered a stunning performance in final practice for the Canadian Grand Prix to offer real hope Mercedes is in the fight for pole position this season.

Hamilton, a seven-time winner at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, lit up the timesheet with a lap of 1:12.549s, finishing just under four-tenths of a second faster than his nearest rival in Red Bull's Max Verstappen.

Hamilton's Mercedes team-mate George Russell was also four-tenths back, with the W15s sporting a new front wing and seemingly poised to deliver a worthwhile qualifying performance.

In a bid to make up for the lost time on Friday given the woeful weather conditions that dominated, the drivers wasted no time taking to the track, with Verstappen first out as soon as the clock allowed.

The Dutchman endured a difficult day, notably in second practice, missing over half an hour following an issue with the ERS (energy recovery system), particularly the MGU-K.

The power unit, a new one fitted at the start of the weekend, has been returned to Milton Keynes for investigation to determine the issue. A system out of the pool has been fitted.

Result Free practice 3 - Canadian

# Driver Team Time Tyre
Results are being loaded...

Oh no, more woe for Zhou

On his opening flying lap on the medium tyres, Verstappen was forced to cut the chicane at the end of it as he was unable to hit the apex. It quickly led to a complaint. "I don't know why, but the whole weekend, this steering...super weird for me," said the three-time champion.

With Alpine's Pierre Gasly setting the initial best time of 1:16.412, the session was red-flagged after just five and a half minutes, with Zhou Guanyu again the cause, as was the case in FP1.

On this occasion, emerging out of Turn 1, Zhou locked up his Stake, sending him into a spin and a slide across the grass and into a barrier where his car ended up beached given the slight hump in the ground.

"I have no idea what is happening with the car," he said over the radio. "The car is so strange man. It just locked up all the rears."

After a five-minute delay, the action resumed, with Verstappen making his way to the top of the timesheet with a 1:15.495 on the medium rubber.

Moments later, Williams' Alex Albon cut across the grass at the Turn 8/9 chicane, leaving him to bemoan the car's brakes over the radio. "Are we okay with the brakes?" he questioned. "Everything feels off. Stopping power feels terrible."

With the drivers taking advantage of the dry weather, Fernando Alonso - quickest on Friday - went quickest on the hard compound with a lap of 1:14.870.

With the two-time champion the only driver running on the white-striped rubber, Alonso lowered his benchmark by four-tenths of a second on his next flying lap.

A mix of programmes was being carried out, however, with some teams focusing on long runs, others seeking lap time on the more durable Pirellis.

Hamilton leaves rivals trailing

Halfway through the session, the first soft-tyre burst was conducted, with Logan Sargeant finding himself in a rare situation of leading the way with a 1:14.355 but was soon usurped by George Russell in his Mercedes, albeit by only 0.076s, suggesting more of a baseline run.

Unsurprisingly, as the soft rubber became the norm tyre, the leading time tumbled, with Leclerc taking over top spot before Lewis Hamilton then went fastest with a 1:13.464.

With 13 minutes remaining, Russell lowered the lead time by two-tenths of a second as the qualifying simulations started to be conducted before moments later Albon became the first driver this weekend to give the notorious 'Wall of Champions' a clout, damaging the right-rear wheel.

Briefly, Verstappen found a groove with a lap of 1:13.289, only for Hamilton to set a high bar by smashing that time by seven-tenths of a second.

A further complaint followed by Verstappen, declaring his RB20 to be "jumping around a lot", particularly through Turns 1, 3 and 4. The Dutchman at least finished second best but 0.374s, and finishing the session with a minor clip of the 'Wall of Champions'.

Behind the leading trio, Aston Martin's Lance Stroll was fourth quickest, 0.477s adrift, followed by Australian duo Oscar Piastri in his McLaren and RB's Daniel Ricciardo, although both were just over seven-tenths back.

Alonso finished up eighth, with Red Bull's Sergio Perez ninth. As for Ferrari, Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz were 10th and 12th, the former exactly eight-tenths down and ending the session by stating, "We are slow!"

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