Belgian GP practice: Leclerc fastest again, heavy crash for Hamilton

Charles Leclerc continued Ferrari's perfect start to the Belgian Grand Prix weekend as world championship leader Lewis Hamilton crashed heavily in final practice

Belgian GP practice: Leclerc fastest again, heavy crash for Hamilton

Hamilton's rare mistake triggered a red flag just after the halfway mark in Saturday's one-hour session when, after setting a personal best first sector, he ploughed into the tyre barrier at the Fagnes chicane.

The Mercedes driver lost the rear of his car as he turned in on the outside kerb, then wrestled to catch the slide - only to lose the rear again as he ran deeper into the run-off.

Hamilton avoided spinning but was unable to stop the car hitting the barrier heavily on the front left.

He apologised to his team over the radio and emerged from the car unharmed, with Mercedes facing plenty of work to get his car ready for qualifying.

Hamilton's crash caused a substantial delay and the session only resumed with less than 15 minutes remaining.

Mercedes will replace both the suspension and wheel assemblies on both front corners of the car, as well as the nose, bargeboards and floor.

It believes it can complete this work in time for qualifying, "barring unexpected nasty surprises".

Vettel led Leclerc by a tenth of a second at this point after the initial runs on soft tyres, but times were slower than in FP2 and remained that way despite late improvements.

Leclerc kicked that off by displacing Vettel with a 1m44.206s, which remained the benchmark despite being a tenth slower than his own best from Friday.

Vettel was 0.451 seconds back after failing to improve, fractionally ahead of the sole remaining Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas.

Daniel Ricciardo was a surprise fourth fastest for Renault, capitalising on Hamilton's shunt and Max Verstappen suffering in traffic but also complaining of brake-balance problems in his Red Bull.

Verstappen was 1.1s slower than Leclerc in fifth, with Sergio Perez leapfrogging the absent Hamilton late on for sixth.

Alfa Romeo pair Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi followed Hamilton in eighth and ninth, while the demoted Pierre Gasly completed the top 10 for Toro Rosso.

Gasly's replacement at Red Bull Alex Albon was slowest of the 20 runners after sacrificing qualifying simulations to focus on longer runs, as he is due to start from the back of the grid.

FP3 times

Pos Driver Car Time Gap Laps
1 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1m44.206s - 9
2 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m44.657s 0.451s 12
3 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1m44.703s 0.497s 11
4 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 1m44.974s 0.768s 10
5 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Honda 1m45.312s 1.106s 11
6 Sergio Perez Racing Point/Mercedes 1m45.521s 1.315s 12
7 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m45.566s 1.360s 4
8 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo/Ferrari 1m45.659s 1.453s 13
9 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo/Ferrari 1m45.688s 1.482s 13
10 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso/Honda 1m45.752s 1.546s 15
11 Romain Grosjean Haas/Ferrari 1m45.806s 1.600s 15
12 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1m45.855s 1.649s 11
13 Kevin Magnussen Haas/Ferrari 1m46.004s 1.798s 15
14 Carlos Sainz Jr. McLaren/Renault 1m46.017s 1.811s 14
15 Lando Norris McLaren/Renault 1m46.270s 2.064s 13
16 Lance Stroll Racing Point/Mercedes 1m46.379s 2.173s 11
17 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso/Honda 1m46.642s 2.436s 13
18 George Russell Williams/Mercedes 1m47.858s 3.652s 14
19 Robert Kubica Williams/Mercedes 1m48.350s 4.144s 14
20 Alexander Albon Red Bull/Honda 1m50.681s 6.475s 14


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