French GP: Verstappen fastest by some margin in FP3

Max Verstappen’s start to Saturday for the French Grand Prix got off to a great start after ending final free practice three fastest, with a 1m31.300s.

The cars didn’t get running properly until just over half an hour to go and it was Verstappen who set the early pace, with a 1m32.337s, just 0.009s faster than the Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas, before the Mercedes quickly fought back to improve by less than half a tenth.

But then with 12 minutes to go Verstappen reclaimed the fastest time with a 1m31.300s, over seven tenths faster than Bottas, and stayed there for the remainder of the session, while Bottas ended up second.

Carlos Sainz was an impressive third for Ferrari. He had hoped the car would perform better at France, but wouldn’t have expected to be in the top three, albeit over eight tenths slower than Verstappen’s best effort.

Sergio Perez was fourth fastest, while Lewis Hamilton struggled for pace, ending the session down in fifth.

Lando Norris continued his strong from from Friday to end up sixth fastest, while the Alpine pair of Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon were seventh and eighth respectively.

Alpha Tauri’s Pierre Gasly was in fifth for the majority of the session, but fell down the order late on and ended up ninth, while Daniel Ricciardo rounded out the top 10.

Charles Leclerc will be disappointed to have been so far behind his Ferrari team-mate, ending the session in 11th and the same goes for Yuki Tsunoda who could only manage 17th.

Qualifying gets underway at 2pm UK time. Let us know who you think will challenge for the top three in the comments below.