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Mixed fortunes for Red Bull pair in final practice


Ahead of today's sole practice session the air temperature is 15 degrees C, while the track temperature is 21 degrees. It is overcast and there is a 30% chance of rain.

Due to yesterday's issues, which meant two red flags in the morning and rain in the afternoon, the teams have much catching up to do, so we can expect the next hour to be busy.

Other that the rain in FP2, the teams had to deal with blustery winds and traffic. Cool temperatures didn't help either, though that appears to be the case again today.

Sargeant, who suffered an electrical issue in FP1 which caused the second red flag, had no running in the afternoon so he is going to be very busy.

Despite the compromised conditions, one thing that was clear is that track limits are going to be an issue.

The lights go green and Stroll leads the way, the Canadian youngster on mediums. HE is subsequently followed by his teammate, Sainz, Hulkenberg and Leclerc.

The Ferraris didn't get any high fuelling running yesterday, which is something of a problem as this appears to be the team's main weakness.

Leclerc is advised that the track temperature is 4 degrees cooler than when he set his best lap in FP2.

As more drivers head out it is a mixture of softs and mediums.

Of the first wave, Sainz goes quickest (19.061) on the softs, ahead of Leclerc (softs) and Magnussen (mediums). However, Verstappen leapfrogs all three of them with an 18.741 on the mediums.

Meanwhile, there is a lot of work going on on the left-rear section of Perez's car.

"Really no grip," complains Zhou.

Hamilton (softs) improves to fifth with a 19.921, the Briton clearly unhappy with his car, while Stroll has to take avoiding action when he encounters a slow Stroll, the Canadian having just improved to third with a 19.186.

"Wow, that was dangerous," says the Briton, "right on the apex."

Leclerc stops the clock at 18.731, as Ocon and Norris head out.

After 13 minutes, Sargeant, Gasly, Perez, Tsunoda, Albon and Piastri have yet to make an appearance.

Alonso (softs) improves to fifth with an 18.871 before improving yet again to 18.329 which puts him second, behind Sainz who has just posted an 18.127.

Ocon goes seventh, with his teammate going eighth moments later. Both Alpine drivers are on softs.

Norris, who like Verstappen is on mediums, goes seventh with a 19.146.

Following a significant lock-up, de Vries warns of vibrations.

Sargeant goes 15th with a 20.296 on the softs.

"Complaining of no rear grip, Russell also calls on his team to check his car's ride height.

An 18.781 sees Albon go sixth as Ocon improves to fourth.

"We are out on scrubbed softs, we haven't run new yet," reveals Otmar Szafnauer, "we'll do that next, so we'll have a better idea in not too much more time. We sometimes struggle with low-speed corners, we have decent stability in high-speed."

Perez is finally on track, but his first flyer is running when he twice finds himself being compromised by Hulkenberg. "Why did you put me in this gap," complains the Mexican. "We didn't realise Hulk was high fuel," he is told.

Gasly reports that he's struggling with then tailwind in Turn 14.

An off for Magnussen at Turn 13 - which sees the Dane cruising towards the barriers on the wet grass - momentarily brings out the yellows.

Alonso advised to watch his rears in Turn 5.

The session is red-flagged due to debris, though to be a piece of sidepod, on the track. It is unclear which car it is from.

The session resumes with 24 minutes remaining. Perez immediately has an off at Turn 3, the Mexican yet to complete a full flying lap.

The errant sidepod debris has been traced to de Vries.

"Tyres not really biting, both axles," reports Russell.

As Hamilton improves to second with an 18.138, Perez complains of "inconsistent balance" after ruining another push lap with a lock-up.

Indeed, the Mexican reports a litany of issues his car is suffering. He improves to 14th, 0.935s off the pace.

Due to a clutch issue, Norris' session appears to be at an end.

Though he goes quickest in S2, Alonso remains fourth on 18.329, while an 18.330 sees Zhou go fifth.

Just moments later the Chinese driver clouts the wall at Turn 2 following a front lock-up but is able to continue. Though he reports that he's "alright", the incident compromised several drivers flying laps.

"Sorry about that," he says cheerily.

"It's drizzling a little bit," reports de Vries.

Stroll goes quickest in S1, finally crossing the line at 18.198 to go third. However, Alonso and Ocon are on hot laps. Indeed, the Frenchman goes quickest with an 18.005, only to be demoted when then Spaniard crosses the line at 17.727.

A 17.565 sees Verstappen go top, the Dutchman having finally made the switch to softs.

Russell goes third with a 17.955 as Perez begins another flyer. However, again his lap is ruined when he locks-up and goes off. Still down in 17th, the Mexican has flat-spotted a brand new set of softs.

"Oh, I cannot believe this session," says Perez as he goes off yet again." Nonetheless, he subsequently improves to sixth with an 18.123.

"A few drops of rain," reports Bottas, who is told that only drops are expected.

As the fans in the stands don their ponchos and raise their umbrella, Perez has another off, this time at Turn 1.

"It's quite damp," advises Sainz as the track is officially declared "wet".

As the session ends, Perez' day goes from bad to worse, as he is left stranded at the end of the pitlane.

Though the session is over, the drama continues as Sainz goes off following a practice start, and Piastri is under investigation for a practice start infringement.

"Saved it," says Sainz following his moment, while Ocon complains that his show is stuck under his gas pedal.

Verstappen is quickest, ahead of Alonso, Ocon, Russell, Gasly, Perez, Sainz, Hamilton, Stroll and Zhou.

Hulkenberg is eleventh, ahead of Albon, Leclerc, Piastri, Bottas, Tsunoda, Sargeant, Magnussen, de Vries and Norris.

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