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Charles Leclerc

Leclerc fastest in FP3 as Mercedes remain with the front-runners

Ferrari led the way from Red Bull and a resurgent Mercedes in Saturday's final practice session at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

Leclerc Barcelona
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To news overview © Ferrari

Charles Leclerc and Ferrari completed a practice clean sweep by setting the pace during FP3 for the Spanish Grand Prix in hot Barcelona conditions.

Leclerc clocked a 1:19.772 on the Soft compound tyre to finish just under a tenth clear of Red Bull driver and championship rival Max Verstappen.

Despite vaulting up the order from Friday's second practice session, Verstappen still complained of a "terrible" balance behind the wheel of his car.

Mercedes continued their encouraging practice form by placing third and fourth with George Russell and Lewis Hamilton respectively, suggesting that the team have made a genuine breakthrough with their porpoising struggles.

Carlos Sainz and Sergio Perez followed in the other Ferrari and Red Bull machines, with the top six drivers covered by around half a second.

Result Free practice 3 - Spanish

Pos. Driver Team Time
Results are being loaded...

McLaren best of the rest, Aston Martin stay quiet

After losing a chunk of track time to floor checks in FP2, having run wide at Turn 9, Lando Norris and McLaren emerged as the 'best of the rest' this time out.

Norris slotted ahead of Haas' Kevin Magnussen and Alfa Romeo's Valtteri Bottas, as Alpine's Esteban Ocon rounded out the top 10.

Amid all the off-track fuss over their major upgrade package, Aston Martin placed only 12th and 16th with Sebastian Vettel and Lance Stroll respectively.

Aston Martin have strenuously denied suggestions that their new AMR22 is a "clone" of Red Bull's race-winning RB18, as F1's latest controversy rumbles on in the background.

Early drama for Gasly and Schumacher

There were terminal issues early in the session for Pierre Gasly and Mick Schumacher, costing them valuable track time ahead of qualifying.

Gasly returned to the pits with smoke coming from the rear of his Honda-powered AlphaTauri inside the first 10 minutes, adding to the team's early-season reliability concerns.

A few minutes later, Schumacher pitted with his rear-right brake on fire, prompting a crowd of Haas mechanics and marshals to step in.

The pair ended the session at the bottom of the order, with AlphaTauri and Haas now facing a race against time to prepare their cars for qualifying.

Also interesting:

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F1 2022 Spanish Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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