Hamilton leads 3rd Hungarian GP practice ahead of Verstappen

Jul 30, 2021, 4:34 PM | Updated: Jul 31, 2021, 5:06 am

BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton clocked the fastest time in the third and final practice for the Hungarian Grand Prix ahead of qualifying later Saturday.

The Mercedes driver placed a narrow .088 ahead of championship leader Max Verstappen’s Red Bull and .229 clear of Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas.

The Ferraris of Carlos Sainz Jr. and Charles Leclerc followed in fourth and fifth, respectively, in hot but slightly cloudy conditions at the Hungaroring circuit.

The session was interrupted with about 15 minutes left when Mick Schumacher — son of seven-time F1 champion Michael Schumacher — crashed heavily into a tire wall. He was unharmed but damaged the left side and lost the front wing on his Haas car, which was taken off track by a crane.

“I’m really sorry about that, I know what that means,” said Schumacher, whose team had little more than two hours to repair his car in time for qualifying.

There was a near miss in the pit lane shortly after as Alfa Romeo driver Antonio Giovinazzi pulled out of the garage just as Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll was coming past. Stroll slightly clipped the front wing of Giovinazzi’s Alfa Romeo but there was no damage.

On Friday, Verstappen topped the first practice and Bottas led the second one.

Getting pole position could prove crucial in the race.

The sinewy and tight 4.4-kilometer (2.7-mile) circuit is arguably the hardest track to overtake on after Monaco.

In the standings, Verstappen is eight points ahead of seven-time champion Hamilton. He leads Hamilton 5-4 for wins and led 5-2 for poles before Saturday’s qualifying.

There is a four-week summer break after Sunday’s race, where Hamilton will look to win in Hungary for a record-extending ninth time and fourth straight.

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Hamilton leads 3rd Hungarian GP practice ahead of Verstappen