FP3: Hamilton pips Verstappen and Vettel in shortened practice

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The sun finally shone on the Hungaroring on Saturday, but you struggled to see the light between the top three drivers, as just 0.082s covered Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.

Valtteri Bottas was fourth in sister Mercedes, 0.271s down on Hamilton’s track-record 1m 16.084s, just ahead of Ferrari counterpart Charles Leclerc, with Red Bull’s Pierre Gasly a further three-tenths back.

Lando Norris was an impressive ‘best of the rest’ for McLaren, the Alfa Romeo of Kimi Raikkonen separating him from team mate Carlos Sainz in the times, with the Haas of Kevin Magnussen edging team mate Romain Grosjean to complete the top 10.

After Friday’s damp conditions, all the teams were playing catch-up with race and qualifying preparations – and it didn’t help that FP3 was reduced to just 50 minutes.

That was down to a start delay, necessitated after a significant amount of oil was dropped at Turn 4 by a dramatic engine failure in the preceding F2 support race.

It made for a hectic final practice, and one in which the track got quicker and quicker as the cars gradually cleared the cement dust left by the marshals’ clean-up operation.

In the lower half of the pack, it was a low-key showing from Renault and Toro Rosso, with Nico Hulkenberg and Daniel Ricciardo 13th and 16th respectively for the former, Daniil Kvyat and Alex Albon 12th and 17th for the latter.

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Williams’ improvements continued, however, with George Russell beating the Racing Point of Lance Stroll to finish 19th, less than two seconds off Hamilton’s leading time.

So with everyone still on the back foot slightly after Friday’s rain, and with little to separate the top three teams, we are set for an epic battle for pole position in this afternoon’s qualifying session.

FP3 HIGHLIGHTS: 2019 Hungarian Grand Prix



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