Lewis Hamilton led a final Spanish Grand Prix practice halted early by a heavy crash in traffic for Esteban Ocon.
The issue of cars slowing to try to keep tyres cool and find clear space for fast laps has become prominent in recent races, and came to a head this morning with Ocon’s crash.
The Renault driver had allowed Kevin Magnussen past through Turn 3, then encountered the Haas again between Turns 4 and 5.
The slowing Magnussen moved to the middle of the road attempting to get out of the way, but Ocon had already committed to the same spot and slewed into the wall in avoidance.
With only two minutes left on the clock at that point, the red flag for the crash marked the end of the session.
Prior to that incident, which is under investigation by the stewards, the story had been more Mercedes domination but with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen closing the gap to the top two.
Valtteri Bottas had been fastest for much of the session, his early 1m17.971s heading Hamilton by over three tenths of a second and Hamilton still a tenth adrift even when he improved later on his run.
Bottas then raised the bar to a 1m17.373s on Mercedes’ later run but was beaten by Hamilton’s subsequent 1m17.222s.
Having been 0.8s-0.9s off Mercedes on Friday, Verstappen got within 0.189s of Bottas’s benchmark in the first half of today’s session before the gap stretched to 0.515s on the final runs.
Carlos Sainz Jr had a strong session for McLaren in fourth, just ahead of Sergio Perez’s Racing Point, the lead Ferrari of Charles Leclerc and Pierre Gasly’s AlphaTauri.
The second Red Bull of Alex Albon was back in ninth between Lance Stroll and Daniel Ricciardo, while Sebastian Vettel was down in 12th behind Ocon.
Practice 3 Results
|Pos||Name||Car||Best Time||Gap Leader|
|3||Max Verstappen||Red Bull-Honda||1m17.737s||+0.515s|
|4||Carlos Sainz Jr.||McLaren-Renault||1m18.046s||+0.824s|
|5||Sergio Pérez||Racing Point-Mercedes||1m18.096s||+0.874s|
|8||Lance Stroll||Racing Point-Mercedes||1m18.309s||+1.087s|
|9||Alex Albon||Red Bull-Honda||1m18.371s||+1.149s|
|14||Kimi Räikkönen||Alfa Romeo-Ferrari||1m18.721s||+1.499s|
|18||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo-Ferrari||1m19.175s||+1.953s|