Verstappen fastest in final France practice


 Max Verstappen beat Carlos Sainz to top spot in final practice at the French Grand Prix.

Verstappen’s best lap of 1m 32.272s covered Sainz by a comfortable 0.354s margin, while Charles Leclerc struggled with degradation in third, 0.637s off the pace.

The Dutchman’s supremacy was such that even his quickest time on the medium compound would have put him second in the final order – and it would’ve been quick enough to keep top spot before Sainz set a second time on softs after two cool-down laps.

Leclerc, however, couldn’t find any extra time when he went for a second tour, complaining that his tires were already dead by the time he started the lap.

It’ll be concerning for Ferrari, which already appeared to have worse tire wear during the long-run simulations on Friday.

Sainz also won’t be contending for pole thanks to a grid penalty for exceeding his allocation of power unit parts, having taken a new internal combustion engine, turbocharger, MGU-H and MGU-l this morning after a new battery and control electronics unit on Friday.

Lewis Hamilton was fourth for Mercedes, but he only just snuck within the 1s barrier, 0.983s off the pace. His W13 was struggling particularly badly through Turn 5, where resurfacing work has left a considerable bump in the middle of the corner that tended to put the car up on three wheels, with his front-left rising into the air and locking mid-corner.

Sergio Perez followed in fifth, a second down on his leading teammate, splitting Hamilton from his Mercedes teammate George Russell in sixth

Fernando Alonso was seventh, 1.2s off the pace, just pipping Williams driver Alex Albon.

Lando Norris was ninth for McLaren ahead of an improved Yuki Tsunoda for AlphaTauri. Daniel Ricciardo followed in the second McLaren and just over 0.1s off his teammate.

Nicholas Latifi beat Pierre Gasly to 12th ahead of Alfa Romeo duo Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu, both of whom suffered considerable curb strike through the hour, though without any sign of significant damage.

Kevin Magnussen was 16th, ahead of Esteban Ocon, with Lance Stroll the quickest Aston Martin on a difficult day for the team, ending the session 18th ahead of Mick Schumacher and teammate Sebastian Vettel.

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