P3: Hamilton ahead, Verstappen closes in

Watch qualifying at 2pm on Sky Sports F1, build-up at 1.30pm

By Matt Morlidge

Last Updated: 04/07/20 12:25pm

Lewis Hamilton continued his perfect Austrian GP weekend by setting the pace in final practice, although Max Verstappen narrowed the gap to hint at a close battle in the first qualifying session of Formula 1 2020.

Hamilton went fastest with a 1:04.130, a tenth of a second ahead of Valtteri Bottas as the world champion completed a practice hat-trick of Mercedes one-twos in Spielberg – reaffirming his team’s status as heavy favourites.

But while Red Bull struggled slightly on the opening day, Verstappen was just 0.283s behind during the soft-tyre runs to place third on Saturday morning.

Austrian GP schedule on Sky Sports F1

The Dutchman, winner of the last two Austrian GPs, was neck-and-neck with Hamilton through the lap before losing time through the final sector’s high-speed corners.

“To get one of them is possible, but to get both of them is a tall order,” Red Bull boss Christian Horner told Sky F1.

“But if we can tidy up Turn Seven and those last two turns we can get closer to them.”

Qualifying begins at 2pm on Sky Sports F1, with build-up at 1.30pm. Our Diversity in Motorsport show is on at 1pm.

1:04
Nicholas Latifi spins his Williams car into the barriers at turn one during practice three.

Nicholas Latifi spins his Williams car into the barriers at turn one during practice three.

Behind the top three, the qualifying order is almost impossible to predict.

Sergio Perez led the chasing pack, four-tenths off Hamilton as Racing Point continued their Friday form, although just behind him Ferrari pair Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel, as well as Alex Albon in the other Red Bull, appear vulnerable to the midfield.

AlphaTauri, McLaren and Renault are all in contention and seem to be leading the charge for what is set to be a hotly-contested Q3 in qualifying.

Nicholas Latifi, meanwhile, had a session to forget ahead of the first qualifying of his F1 career, crashing his Williams at Turn One to bring out the first red flag of 2020.

The shunt broke his front wing, and leaves Williams with plenty of work to do before Saturday’s shootout.

Austrian GP Practice Three Timesheet

Driver Team Time
1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:04.130
2. Valtteri Bottas Mercedes +0.147
3. Max Verstappen Red Bull +0.283
4. Sergio Perez Racing Point +0.475
5. Charles Leclerc Ferrari +0.573
6. Alexander Albon Red Bull +0.595
7. Sebastian Vettel Ferrari +0.721
8. Lance Stroll Racing Point +0.788
9. Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri +0.819
10. Lando Norris McLaren +0.820
11. Esteban Ocon Renault +0.907
12. Daniel Ricciardo Renault +0.958
13. Carlos Sainz McLaren +1.047
14. Daniil Kvyat AlphaTauri +1.160
15. Romain Grosjean Haas +1.233
16. George Russell Williams +1.435
17. Kevin Magnussen Haas +1.518
18. Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo +1.524
19. Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo +1.643
20. Nicholas Latifi Williams +2.919

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