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Dutch Grand Prix 2023

Verstappen sets daunting target in disrupted final practice

The Red Bull driver looks ominously quick at Zandvoort.

Max Verstappen set a daunting benchmark ahead of Dutch Grand Prix qualifying during a disrupted final practice session.

Final preparations at Zandvoort were hit by three separate red flag periods as rain created difficult conditions for drivers.

Home favourite Verstappen set the bar with a 1:21.631 to finish 0.379secs faster than Mercedes' George Russell, though that time was under threat before the Red Bull driver took a trip through the gravel on his final run.

Sergio Perez was third fastest in the second Red Bull as times tumbled on Intermediate tyres late on.

Result Free practice 3 - Dutch

# Driver Team Time Tyre
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Most of the field experienced an off-track excursion during the final hour of running, especially at Turn 1 where both Ferraris [Charles Leclerc on three occasions], Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon all took to the run-off - the Alpine driver making front-on contact with

Whilst Tarzan was the hotspot for mistakes, Turn 3 was where the first major incident took place as Kevin Magnussen left Haas with a repair job ahead of qualifying.

The Dane spun when applying the throttle off the banking, rotating into the barriers and leaving Team Principal Guenther Steiner "p***ed off" with the loss of another upgraded front wing.

Verstappen had earlier avoided a similar fate, though Zhou Guanyu was less fortunate when beaching his Alfa Romeo after a spin on the exit of the penultimate corner.

AlphaTauri debutant Liam Lawson - in for Daniel Ricciardo after the Australian broke a metacarpal in his FP2 crash - had a spin of his own at the same spot on the track to trigger the third red flag, though he escaped with little damage and returned to the pits.

As the track dried, Verstappen stretched his advantage to finish ahead of Russell and Perez, whilst Aston Martin's Fernando Alonso popped up to fourth late on in the session.

Lewis Hamilton was seven-tenths down on teammate Russell in fifth, with Alex Albon proving Williams' strength in the wet and dry by finishing sixth.

Oscar Piastri and Lando Norris were at the top of the field for most of the session but ended up in seventh and 10th, with Alfa Romeo's Valtteri Bottas and Leclerc splitting the two McLarens.

Pierre Gasly was ahead of Carlos Sainz just outside the top 10, with Yuki Tsunoda 13th for AlphaTauri.

Logan Sargeant headed Haas' Nico Hulkenberg in 14th and 15th, with Ocon only 16th.

The second Aston Martin of Lance Stroll could muster just 17th fastest ahead of Lawson, who's primary objective was to gain experience ahead of qualifying.

Zhou missed the best of the track conditions, whilst Magnussen failed to set a time.

F1 2023 Dutch Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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