Portuguese GP: Max Verstappen beats Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas to top Practice Three


Max Verstappen 0.236s faster than Lewis Hamilton to top his first session of the Portuguese GP weekend; Valtteri Bottas and Sergio Perez not far behind; Esteban Ocon best of the rest as Alpine continue strong form

Last Updated: 01/05/21 1:14pm


Max Verstappen once again appears to be the man to beat heading into an F1 2021 qualifying session after topping Practice Three for the Portuguese GP, with Red Bull holding a small advantage over Mercedes.

Verstappen, who placed second in both Friday sessions, found form on Saturday morning to lead Lewis Hamilton by two-two-tenths of a second, able to extract pace out of his car in difficult conditions.

Valtteri Bottas and Verstappen’s team-mate Sergio Perez were a further tenth back in difficult blustery conditions.

Verstappen’s pace means he has topped set all three final practice sessions so far this season, and he will be hoping for his second pole position come the Portimao shootout, live on Sky Sports F1 at 3pm.

“It’s impossible to say who’s the favourite for qualifying,” said Sky F1’s Nico Rosberg. “Verstappen definitely looked quicker in practice, but we know that Mercedes have a little bit extra when it comes to qualifying.

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2016 F1 world champion Nico Rosberg gives his thoughts on the competition between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen so far in the new season.

2016 F1 world champion Nico Rosberg gives his thoughts on the competition between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen so far in the new season.

“I think they’ve got absolutely equal pace and it will just come down to the driver.”

Red Bull also insisted the pole battle will be “nip and tuck” between themselves and Mercedes.

“Hopefully we can take this form into qualifying and put them under pressure,” team boss Christian Horner told Sky F1. “But based on this form it’s going to be very very tight.”

More to follow.





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