For the third consecutive practice session, Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc was fastest ahead of Max Verstappen ahead of qualifying for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

In final practice for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc slowed the pace to set a new benchmark time and achieve a clean sweep of Formula 1 practice sessions.

Leclerc set the fastest time in qualifying simulations with a 1m29.735s on soft tyres at the end of the final hour of practice, finishing just 0.033s ahead of reigning F1 world champion Max Verstappen.

For much of FP3, Verstappen had been at the top of the timesheets and would have gone even quicker if it hadn’t been for a crazy moment over the kerbs at Turn 20, which forced the Red Bull driver to abort his flying lap when he was three-and-a-half tenths ahead of his fastest time.

When the teams arrived at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit for the first time on Saturday, it was cooler than the early afternoon session on Friday.

After missing the final phase of yesterday’s second practice due to both drivers colliding with the wall, Leclerc and Sainz were quick to get out on the circuit to make up for lost time, putting in some laps on the soft tyres. To set the early pace, Leclerc went faster than teammate Sainz.

Sergio Perez finished third in the second Red Bull, barely 0.098s ahead of Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz and Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas, who impressed once again to finish fifth, only 0.295s behind.

Pierre Gasly appeared to be in problems after reporting a possible driveshaft problem and being told to stop his AlphaTauri at the pit exit. The AlphaTauri mechanics were unable to recover the car since he had crossed the white line marking the pit exit.

Alpine’s Esteban Ocon finished sixth, ahead of Pierre Gasly, whose AlphaTauri came to a standstill as he exited the pit lane due to a suspected driveshaft failure.

Thankfully, with the help of a few of marshals in the pitlane, Gasly was able to push the AT03 back to the pitlane, and the team was able to resume work on the car in the garage.

Alpine’s Esteban Ocon finished sixth, ahead of Pierre Gasly, whose AlphaTauri came to a standstill as he exited the pit lane due to a suspected driveshaft failure.

For Haas, Alpine, and AlphaTauri, Kevin Magnussen, Fernando Alonso, and Yuki Tsunoda completed the top-10 order, leaving seven-time world champion Hamilton three-tenths shy of the Q3 spots in qualifying after finishing 11th.

Mercedes’ woes continued as Lewis Hamilton could only manage 11th place, over a full second behind Leclerc, while teammate George Russell finished 14th, three tenths behind.

The reigning world champions are still working to solve the porpoising problem and straight-line speed shortfall that have kept Hamilton and Russell from fully exploiting the W13’s capabilities.

Mercedes experimented with several wing configurations during Friday practice but came no closer to finding a solution, putting it in seventh place in FP3 and in a precarious position heading into qualifying.

2022 F1 SAUDI ARABIAN GRAND PRIX – FREE PRACTICE RESULTS (3)

POSDRIVERNAT.TEAMTIME
1Charles LeclercMONScuderia Ferrari1m29.735s
2Max VerstappenNEDOracle Red Bull Racing1m29.768s
3Sergio PerezMEXOracle Bull Racing1m29.833s
4Carlos SainzESPScuderia Ferrari1m30.009s
5Valtteri BottasFINAlfa Romeo F1 Team Orlen1m30.030s
6Esteban OconFRABWT Alpine F1 Team1m30.139s
7Pierre GaslyFRAScuderia AlphaTauri1m30.148s
8Kevin MagnussenDENHaas F1 Team1m30.262s
9Fernando AlonsoESPBWT Alpine F1 Team1m30.296s
10Yuki TsunodaJPNScuderia AlphaTauri1m30.415s
11Lewis HamiltonGBRMercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team1m30.707s
12Mick SchumacherGERHaas F1 Team1m30.765s
13Guanyu ZhouCHNAlfa Romeo F1 Team Orlen1m30.946s
14George RussellGBRMercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team1m30.983s
15Lance StrollCANAston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula One Team1m31.067s
16Daniel RicciardoAUSMcLaren F1 Team1m31.186s
17Alexander AlbonTHAWilliams Racing1m31.374s
18Nico HulkenbergGERAston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula One Team1m31.424s
19Lando NorrisGBRMcLaren F1 Team1m31.529s
20Nicholas LatifiCANWilliams Racing1m31.922s

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