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Verstappen excels in wet final practice


Ahead of today's sole practice session the air temperature is 15 degrees C, while the track temperature is 17 degrees.

The bif news is that having broken his hand in yesterday's FP2 crash, Daniel Ricciardo is replaced by New Zealand rookie, Liam Lawson.

Ricciardo was involved in a strange incident just moments after countryman Oscar Piastri had crashed at the same part of the circuit.

However, it wasn't all bad news for McLaren as teammate Lando Norris topped the timesheets.

One team that will be seeking a marked improvement today is Ferrari, which appeared woefully off the pace.

Yesterday the track was green, and with heavy overnight rain and further rain over the course of the next hour this will continue to be a problem. Indeed, ahead of the green light it is still raining, in fact it is raining hard.

The lights go green and Verstappen leads the way, much to the delight of the (rain soaked) orange army. He is subsequently joined by Lawson.

As Verstappen begins his first flying lap, Zhou, Norris, Piastri and Russell head out.

Understandably, Lawson is extremely cautious, posting a conservative 35.088 compared to Verstappen's 27.514.

"I don't know what happened there, I lost all grip," says Verstappen as he almost lost it on the banking and hit the barriers.

"It's raining quite a lot now," reports Lawson.

As more drivers head out, most are on full wets though the McLaren pair are on Inters.

A number of drivers have moments including Norris and Perez at Turn 11.

Bottas goes second with a 28.441, ahead of Albon, Zhou, Norris and Sargeant.

The session is red-flagged when Magnussen goes off at Turn 3. "Sorry guys," he says.

Replay shows him losing the rear of the Haas and clouting the barrier at the entry to Turn 3, just after one of the Aston Martins had a major wobble at the same point. Haas kindly points out that the Dane was on his out lap.

"I'm pretty pissed off right now," admits Guenther Steiner, concerned that what with Hulkenberg's crash yesterday, the team has only one new front wing left and one new rear wing.

The session resumes with 43 minutes remaining, and Verstappen is among the first out. The Mercedes pair head out for the first time, as does Leclerc, Tsunoda and Gasly.

Norris is informed that the rain will continue at the current intensity for ten minutes and then begin to ease.

Hamilton is told the rain will intensify but ease later and is therefore advised to pit.

On the full wets, Leclerc goes quickest with a 27.238 but promptly goes off at Turn 1 and does well to keep it out of the barriers.

Norris posts a 26.752 on the Inters, but Verstappen immediately responds with a 25.197.

Lawson, currently 12th on a 31.199, is told there will be another show in five minutes.

Applying the power too quickly, Zhou spins off into the gravel at Turn 13 and is beached. The session is red-flagged again.

While the clock continues to count down, with 28 minutes remaining, only 13 drivers have posted times.

The session resumes with 26 minutes remaining.

Sargeant leads the way, followed by Sainz, Norris and Lawson.

"I had a lock-up," confirms Sainz as he goes off at Turn 1.

"I think the conditions are good for Inter," says Tsunoda as teammate Lawson improves to 29.642.

On the Inters, Perez improves to tenth (28.534), but remains 3.337s off his teammate's pace.

Norris retakes the top spot with a 25.086, as teammate Piastri goes fourth (27.392).

As times continue to improve everyone is now on the green-banded rubber.

Piastri improves to third and Perez fourth, while Russell posts a 27.414 to go eighth.

A 24.893 sees Piastri go top, but Norris responds with a 23.677.

Having posted a 38.140, Alonso takes to the escape road at Turn 1.

As Stroll goes fifth, Sargeant is seventh and Albon eighth.

Perez splits the McLarens with a 24.355, but Piastri then responds with a 23.774 to reclaim second.

As Ocon goes off at Turn 1, Leclerc has a massive wobble at the same corner.

Alonso goes fourth with a 24.786, as replay shows that Ocon made contact with the barriers but was able to continue.

The session is red-flagged once again after Lawson spins in the final corner after clipping the kerb and is left facing the wrong way. In no time at all the kiwi gets going again and heads back to the pits.

The session resumes with 9 minutes remaining.

"Five or so laps, go to the end of the session," Sainz is told.

Leclerc is off at Turn 1 again, as Verstappen appears to be on a hot lap. Indeed, the world champion posts a 22.758, to go top by 0.919s.

Replay shows that like before, and also with his teammate, Leclerc was simply unable to stop the car at the end of the pit straight.

Russell goes fourth, Gasly eighth and Hulkenberg twelfth.

Tsunoda improves to twelfth, as Bottas goes quickest in S1.

As dry line begins to emerge, Russell goes second with a 22.779, just 0.021s down on Verstappen.

However, the Dutchman responds with a 21.631, 1.148s up on the Mercedes.

Courtesy of a tow from Sainz, Norris crosses the line at 23.158 to go third.

Quickest in S2, Piastri crosses the line at 22.892 to claim third, thereby demoting Leclerc who had just improved.

Bottas goes fourth as Verstappen goes off at Turn 11, as does Perez.

Late improvements for Perez, Alonso, Hamilton and Albon, see them go third, fourth, fifth and sixth.

"That corner is so bad," reports Leclerc as he falls foul of Turn 1 yet again.

The session ends. Verstappen is quickest, ahead of Russell, Perez, Alonso, Hamilton, Albon, Piastri, Bottas, Leclerc and Norris.

Gasly is eleventh, ahead of Sainz, Tsunoda, Sargeant, Hulkenberg, Ocon, Stroll, Lawson, Zhou and Magnussen.

Check out our Saturday gallery from Zandvoort here.


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