Hamilton edges Verstappen in final practice in Hungary

Lewis Hamilton clocked in quickest in the final practice session ahead of this afternoon’s qualifying, but the Mercedes charger’s edge over his Red Bull arch-rival Max Verstappen was a narrow 0.088s.

Valtteri Bottas concluded the final dress rehearsal P3, 0.229s adrift from Hamilton while Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc completed the top five.

    Hungarian Grand Prix Free Practice 3 – Results

Conditions remained raging hot mid-day on Saturday at the Hungaroring, promising another sizzling day of running for teams and drivers at the twisty 4.3 km circuit.

There was little activity in the opening stages of the session, with only F1’s resident rookies – Mick Schumacher, Nikita Mazepin and Yuki Tsunoda – taking to the track.

But a few big guns soon joined the action, with Hamilton, running on the soft tyre, setting the first benchmark time, followed by Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz who was bedding in his new engine following his team’s decision to undertake an overnight penalty-free change of the Spaniard’s unit.

Click Here: gold coast titans jerseys

Twenty minutes into the session, Verstappen and Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez joined the fray. While the Dutchman went fastest, the championship leader was overhauled in short by Bottas who had taken to the track in the interim.

As the traffic swelled, most drivers indulged in check runs on the medium tyre to validate overnight changes. A surprise visitor among the top six as the session reached its half-way point was Williams’ Nicholas Latifi thanks to a good effort by the Canadian.

Hamilton’s effort to bridge the gap with his teammate on a set of softs was fruitless, but Sainz’s improvement allowed the Spaniard to move up to second, 0.442s adrift from Bottas.

But with 17 minutes left on the clock, an off by Schumacher triggered a red flag, with footage showing the Haas driver losing it at the fast Turn 11 and thumping the barriers, a hit that may have put Schumacher’s participation in qualifying in jeopardy.

As the damaged Haas was craned away, the action resumed with nine minutes to go.

As Lance Stroll rolled down the pitlane, the Aston Martin driver suffered a brush with Antonio Giovoinazzi’s Alfa Romeo after the Italian driver was carelessly released by his team, an incident that yielded an investigation by the stewards.

Improvements came thick and fast in the dying minutes of the session, with Hamilton hammering in a 1m16.826s that put the Mercedes first, just 0.088s ahead of Verstappen.

Hamilton had the last word as the positions remained unchanged among the top three, with Bottas lining up behind the two title contenders?

Sainz and Leclerc followed in the pecking order, while McLaren succeeded in putting both its cars among the top ten, with Norris and Ricciardo respectively P6 and P8 and sandwiching Perez’s Red Bull. Further back, Alonso and Stroll completed the first half of the field.

Hamilton’s performance bodes well for qualifying, but Verstappen’s fastest first sector time means that the Dutchman can’t be dismissed for pole in this afternoon’s shootout.

Gallery: The beautiful wives and girlfriends of F1 drivers

Keep up to date with all the F1 news via Facebook and Twitter