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Sainz Leads Spain FP3 McLaren Fire Adds Tension

Spain FP3: Sainz Tops Tight Grid, McLaren Fire Drama

22/06/2024

Carlos Sainz leads a tight field in Spain’s FP3. McLaren faces a fire scare, and multiple incidents mark the session.

The Spanish Grand Prix continued with Free Practice 3, the final session before qualifying. A minor alarm occurred in the paddock shortly before FP3, as a fire broke out in the McLaren F1 motorhome.

Fortunately, the fire was quickly brought under control, although the British team’s hospitality area had to be fully evacuated. Notably, Mario Isola, Pirelli F1 director and volunteer firefighter, was seen tackling the initial flames with an extinguisher.

On track, Lewis Hamilton was the first out, setting a time of 1’14″178 on soft tyres. Max Verstappen closed to within a tenth on medium tyres before the Briton improved to 1’13″865.

George Russell surpassed his teammate with a time of 1’13″431, also on softs. The Ferrari drivers were within two-tenths of the leader, also on soft tyres. Lando Norris then slotted into second on mediums.

Surprisingly, two drivers, Russell and Lance Stroll, requested foam padding around their knees during their first run. The long corners of the circuit, notably the endless turn 3 exceeding 5 G, press the drivers against the cockpit sides.

It wasn’t until the final quarter-hour that the drivers made qualifying runs again. Lando Norris set the fastest time on softs with 1’13″043. Shortly before, Alex Albon moved up to fifth, while Oscar Piastri made a few errors in his fast lap.

Hamilton improved his time to place second, three-tenths behind Norris, just ahead of Russell. With 10 minutes remaining, the Red Bull, Aston Martin, RB F1, and Stake teams had not set times on soft tyres.

Hamilton obstructed Stroll, who expressed his frustration by colliding with the Briton’s Mercedes. The stewards will review this incident after the session, and a penalty for the Canadian is possible, as the contact, though light, was deliberate.

Sainz set the fastest time of the session with 1’13″013. On his first run on softs, Verstappen placed third, less than a tenth behind Sainz. Charles Leclerc, ahead after two sectors, finished 37 thousandths behind Sainz. The top four drivers were within a tenth.

Leclerc deliberately steered towards Norris while overtaking, feeling obstructed, and the stewards might also review this questionable maneuver.

Meanwhile, Sainz ended the session fastest, ahead of Norris, Leclerc, Verstappen, and Russell. Four drivers were within a tenth, and four teams within two-tenths. The Alpine drivers were just outside the top 10.

Pos.DriverTeamTimeLaps
01Carlos SainzFerrari SF-241:13.01319
02Lando NorrisMcLaren Mercedes MCL381:13.04314
03Charles LeclercFerrari SF-241:13.05018
04Max VerstappenRed Bull Honda RBPT RB201:13.08724
05George RussellMercedes W151:13.16420
06Lewis HamiltonMercedes W151:13.35926
07Sergio PérezRed Bull Honda RBPT RB201:13.72319
08Alex AlbonWilliams Mercedes FW461:13.75314
09Fernando AlonsoAston Martin Mercedes AMR241:13.78621
10Oscar PiastriMcLaren Mercedes MCL381:13.90714
11Esteban OconAlpine Renault A5241:13.95018
12Pierre GaslyAlpine Renault A5241:13.96414
13Nico HülkenbergHaas Ferrari VF-241:13.97520
14Valtteri BottasStake F1 Kick Sauber C441:14.02419
15Kevin MagnussenHaas Ferrari VF-241:14.07427
16Daniel RicciardoRB Honda RBPT VCARB 011:14.16117
17Lance StrollAston Martin Mercedes AMR241:14.25416
18Yuki TsunodaRB Honda RBPT VCARB 011:14.42022
19Guanyu ZhouStake F1 Kick Sauber C441:14.57217
20Logan SargeantWilliams Mercedes FW461:14.72922

Sainz Leads Spain FP3. Sainz Leads Spain FP3

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