F1 – Hamilton tops FP3 in Canada ahead of Verstappen and Russell as Mercedes take a step forward 


Lewis Hamilton finished almost four tenths of a second ahead of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen with George Russell third in the second Mercedes as the Silver Arrows enjoyed a good final hour of practice ahead of Qualifying for the 2024 FIA Formula One Canadian Grand Prix. 

The queue at the end of the pitlane is made up of the vast majority of the field - although it was headed by the two Red Bull drivers. However, on his first run, a snap of oversteer cost Verstappen and it was team-mate Sergio Pérez on Mediums who went to the top of the times in the opening exchanges with a 1:18.096. As drivers began to get a feel for the grip levels, Alpine’s Pierre Gasly went quickest on 1:16.412, followed by team-mate Estaban Ocon who took P2 with a lap of 1:17.639.

Five minutes in, however, Zhou Guanyu brought out the red flags for the second time in the weekend. The Kick Sauber driver lost control in Turn 1 and on exit he spun around and went backwards into the barriers close to the pit exit. 

The halt was brief and after just five minutes the session resumed. Verstappen was quickly out on track and the Dutchman jumped to the top of the timesheet with a lap of 1:15.495 set on Medium tyres. Haas’s Kevin Magnussen the moved to second place, seven tenths of a second behind Max, but the Dane was soon pushed back, first by Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso who claimed P2 on Hard tyres with 1:15.790 and then by RB’s Daniel Ricciardo who slotted into P3 just 0.004s behind the Spaniard.

Verstappen was going even quicker though and he extended his advantage at the top of the leaderboard with a 1:14.983 that left him nine tenths clear of Alonso. The Aston Martin driver was also improving on his set of Hard tyres, however, and 18 minutes in he rose to P1 on 1:14.870 and then gained more time to set a new benchmark of 1:14.445. 

McLaren’s Lando Norris then shuffled Verstappen out to third as the Dutchman pitted but Norris’s stay in P2 was short as Ricciardo put in a good lap of 1:14.780 to lie a little over three tenths of Alonso. 

As the halfway mark arrived, Williams’ Logan Sargeant bolted on a set of Soft tyres and the American driver jumped to the top of the timesheet with a time of 1:14.355. Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz, also on Softs, moved to third on 1:14.445. George Russell, who had been near the bottom of the table as he focused on heavy-fuel long runs, then claimed P1 with a lap of 1:14.279. 

The Mercedes driver was swiftly bounced out of top spot, however, as Alex Albon dipped into the 1m13s bracket, Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc went quicker again and then Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton claimed P1 with a new benchmark of 1:13.464 set as the track rapidly improved. Norris slotted into P2, 0.03s off Hamilton with Leclerc in third ahead of Ricciardo and the second McLaren of Oscar Piastri. 

With a little over 15 minutes left in the session, Russell jumped ahead of his team-mate by almost two tenths of a second as he posted a lap of 1:13.274. 

Verstappen then appeared for his first laps on Soft tyres, and he posted a lap of 1:13.289 to claim second, which became third moments later when Hamilton became the first man below 1m13s with a strong lap of 1:12.549 – seven tenths clear of Russell. Max was then shuffled further back as Ricciardo once again made his way towards the sharp end with a P3 lap of 1:13.279, a hundredth quicker than Max. The Dutchman was on another lap, though and when he crossed the line he moved up to P2 on 1:13.182, 0.633s off Hamilton. 

That was clearly too big a gap for the championship leader and just before the chequered flag was shown, Verstappen improved again to 1:12.923 to take P2, 0.374 behind P1 man Hamilton, though the Red Bull driver clipped the ‘Wall of Champions’ with his right rear wheel as he pushed for lap time. 

Third place on the timesheet went to Russell, while Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll put in a good lap of 1:13.026 to take fourth place ahead of Piastri, while Ricciardo ended up sixth thanks to his best time of 1:13.279. Norris was seventh in the second McLaren, ahead of Alonso, with Red Bull’s Sergio Pérez in ninth ahead of Charles Leclerc.

2024 FIA Formula 1 Canadian Grand Prix – Free Practice 3
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:12.549 31 216.399
2 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Honda RBPT 1:12.923 0.374 32 215.290
3 George Russell Mercedes 1:12.957 0.408 33 215.189
4 Lance Stroll Aston Martin/Mercedes 1:13.026 0.477 27 214.986
5 Oscar Piastri McLaren/Mercedes 1:13.266 0.717 32 214.282
6 Daniel Ricciardo RB/Honda RBPT 1:13.279 0.730 34 214.244
7 Lando Norris McLaren/Mercedes 1:13.293 0.744 32 214.203
8 Fernando Alonso Aston Martin/Mercedes 1:13.340 0.791 30 214.065
9 Sergio Pérez Red Bull/Honda RBPT 1:13.342 0.793 29 214.060
10 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:13.349 0.800 28 214.039
11 Kevin Magnussen Haas/Ferrari 1:13.439 0.890 30 213.777
12 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 1:13.570 1.021 33 213.396
13 Valtteri Bottas Sauber/Ferrari 1:13.642 1.093 32 213.188
14 Logan Sargeant Williams/Mercedes 1:13.663 1.114 31 213.127
15 Yuki Tsunoda RB/Honda RBPT 1:13.716 1.167 31 212.974
16 Pierre Gasly Alpine/Renault 1:13.737 1.188 29 212.913
17 Nico Hülkenberg Haas/Ferrari 1:13.777 1.228 27 212.798
18 Alexander Albon Williams/Mercedes 1:13.880 1.331 22 212.501
19 Esteban Ocon Alpine/Renault 1:14.075 1.526 31 211.941
20 Zhou Guanyu Sauber/Ferrari 1:18.656 6.107 4 199.598