The Spaniard had a meager 0.05sec margin over his teammate as the Scuderia pair also dominated laps, as more than 80 laps of data were combined before Saturday’s race.
Meanwhile, sprint race leader Verstappen was closer to twenty times the headlines, but seemed to show the most impressive speed in the long run, with the Alps ahead of his teammate. Sergio Perez.
With 25 minutes of the hour remaining, the Ferraris rushed toward the top of the timing screens as they slid on a set of the fastest available C5 soft tires.
Leclerc circled the timing line in 1m08.660s to sit temporarily faster and wouldn’t improve from there, dropping 0.9secs over the next few laps to assess the durability of the red-walled tire.
With 18 minutes left to run, Sainz set the benchmark for the session, completing 2.68 miles in 1m08.610s to find five hundred over Leclerc and lead the times.
He was just twice shy of Leclerc, 40 for 42, but would start the sprint from third, one place behind his teammate, losing Monegasque in qualifying to Verstappen of late.
The defending champion finished the third session, losing 0.168 seconds at the fastest Ferrari Where Verstappen finished training at Red Bull at home in 1m08.778s.
Verstappen set the pace during the first part of the session, when there was an emphasis on race speed, though teams split between targeting a sprint competition or a full Grand Prix.
The Alfa RomeoHaas and Aston Martin ventured out first for the hour-long morning run and joined them McLaren From Lando Norriswho got an early pull from Leclerc across the line to make an effort of 1m10.670s on the medium tires to lead the group at the start.
Verstappen didn’t join the event until five minutes later, and Red Bull appeared to be focusing on simulating a sprint by running on soft surfaces while Ferrari kept the medium tyres.
With the C5 composite advantage, Verstappen’s first analog effort stopped the clock at 1m09.170s to overtake Sainz by 0.3secs and Leclerc, then sprinted for third.
Verstappen then lowered that to 1m09.067s to grapple four-tenths forward and after being asked to hold fifth gear between Turns 6 and 7, dropped in 1m08s with an effort of 1m08.966s.
That put Verstappen 0.2sec off Sainz’s early streak best as part of the race, with Leclerc 0.6s of final sprint even if his lap average was faster than his teammate.
Russell entered the session 11 minutes later after floor and gearbox repairs after a Q3 detour in the last corner, mercedes On soft tires to run third fastest as part of the race sessions.
He sat 1m09.240s and 0.3secs off Verstappen, while splitting the Ferrari pair, which then allowed two slip errors – Leclerc running out in Turn 3, Sainz locked in in T1.
In the end, it was two-times champion Alonso who had the scale, cutting 1m08.832sec to find 0.16sec on Ocon, with Perez eventually finishing sixth in 1m09.179s.
The Mexican will start the sprint from 13, having had his times omitted in the third quarter for violating late track limits in the second quarter that prevented Pierre Gasly Participate in the top 10 penalty shootout for sprint racing tycoon.
George RussellThe only driver to adopt the slowest solid tire was ranked seventh.
Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton He was ninth behind his former stablemate Valtteri Bottasthe seven-time champion only appeared 14 minutes after leaving as a legacy of his massive third-quarter deflection.
Hamilton posted just one quick lap on the softcourt, clocking 1m09.350 to finish ninth ahead of Lando Norris, and McLaren made up for lost time after brake problems in the second quarter.
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