Sergio Pérez topped the final free practice session of the 2022 Belgian Grand Prix at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium.
Max Verstappen was on top of the time charts for most of the session and was pipped by his Mexican team-mate for the top spot in the dying minutes of the session. Carlos Sainz finished in third position at the end of the session.
Pérez’s performance is significant as Verstappen and Charles Leclerc, the main contenders for pole position, will start the race at the back of the grid due to engine penalties.
The third free practice session at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit started in cool and overcast conditions with air temperature at 15 degrees C and track temperature at 20 degrees C.
The Pirelli tyre choice at this race is the white-striped hard compound tyres (C2), yellow-striped medium compound tyres (C3), and red-striped soft compound tyres (C4), the middle range of compounds in the Pirelli tyre range.
Lewis Hamilton led the drivers on to the track as the final practice session started with a flurry of activity with a 40% chance of rain during the session.
The Alfa Romeo F1 Team ORLEN drivers led by Zhou Guanyu with a lap time of 1m47.795s were initially on top of the time charts.
Sainz with a lap time of 1m46.461s went to the top of the time charts. Leclerc slotted into second position, 0.429 seconds slower than his team-mate.
Leclerc seems to have a different setup and more downforce on his car and will start the race from the back of the grid.
Verstappen then went fastest with a lap time of 1m45.480s with Pérez in second position. The RB18 car has looked planted and has the right mixture of downforce and straight-line speed this weekend.
The Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team drivers were struggling to put heat into the tyres and were losing a lot of time in Sector 2.
With fifteen minutes to go the team made a lot of changes to the car setup as they struggled to put good lap times on the board.
George Russell improved to fifth fastest on the time charts. Nicholas Latifi went fastest in the first sector and slotted into ninth position on the time charts.
With nine minutes to go, Leclerc went off at Turn 12 and skidded across the gravel and touched the barriers. Leclerc limped back to the pits but the session was red-flagged to repair the barriers.
The session resumed with less than four minutes to go and Verstappen went even faster. But Pérez with a lap time of 1:45.047s went 0.137 seconds faster than Verstappen.
In the dying minutes of the session, Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel went fifth and eighth fastest. There was light rain at the end of the session.
The overcast conditions with a chance of rain will make the qualification session unpredictable and interesting.
2022 Belgian Grand Prix Free Practice Three Results:
|1||11||Sergio Perez||MEX||Oracle Red Bull Racing||1:45.047||19|
|2||1||Max Verstappen||NED||Oracle Red Bull Racing||1:45.184||+0.137s||19|
|3||55||Carlos Sainz||ESP||Scuderia Ferrari||1:45.824||+0.777s||13|
|4||4||Lando Norris||GBR||McLaren F1 Team||1:45.965||+0.918s||20|
|5||14||Fernando Alonso||ESP||BWT Alpine F1 Team||1:46.061||+1.014s||16|
|6||63||George Russell||GBR||Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team||1:46.071||+1.024s||19|
|7||16||Charles Leclerc||MON||Scuderia Ferrari||1:46.120||+1.073s||12|
|8||5||Sebastian Vettel||GER||Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1 Team||1:46.166||+1.119s||18|
|9||31||Esteban Ocon||FRA||BWT Alpine F1 Team||1:46.601||+1.554s||24|
|10||10||Pierre Gasly||FRA||Scuderia AlphaTauri||1:46.604||+1.557s||19|
|11||3||Daniel Ricciardo||AUS||McLaren F1 Team||1:46.646||+1.599s||18|
|12||44||Lewis Hamilton||GBR||Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team||1:46.769||+1.722s||20|
|13||6||Nicholas Latifi||CAN||Williams Racing||1:46.811||+1.764s||20|
|14||23||Alexander Albon||THA||Williams Racing||1:46.836||+1.789s||20|
|15||77||Valtteri Bottas||FIN||Alfa Romeo Racing||1:46.881||+1.834s||20|
|16||18||Lance Stroll||CAN||Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1 Team||1:46.975||+1.928s||16|
|17||20||Kevin Magnussen||DEN||Haas F1 Team||1:46.982||+1.935s||14|
|18||22||Yuki Tsunoda||JAP||Scuderia AlphaTauri||1:47.035||+1.988s||23|
|19||24||Zhou Guanyu||CHN||Alfa Romeo Racing||1:47.089||+2.042s||20|
|20||47||Mick Schumacher||GER||Haas F1 Team||1:52.494||+7.447s||6|