Singapore, September 16 (ANI): Ferrari's Carlos Sainz set the pace in a dynamic final practice session in the Singapore Grand Prix, narrowly leading rivals Mercedes' George Russell and McLaren's Lando Norris as the teams put the finishing touches on their preparations ahead of qualifiers.
The drivers returned for the third practice after a busy first day in which they adjusted to the Marina Bay conditions in order to perfect their setups before qualifying. But because it had started to rain earlier in the day, a lot of the rubber that had been put down the day before had been removed.
Many chose to start the day in the garage despite the green light being turned on because FP3 was run in unrepresentative conditions to what the drivers will encounter in qualifying and the race.
George Russell and Lewis Hamilton were two of the drivers using the soft tyres. Russell set the early pace with a lap of 1m 32.883s, 0.222s ahead of the seven-time world champion.
As the temperature dropped, the conditions started to resemble those that the drivers would experience during qualifying. This required the drivers to slap a set of soft tyres on for a few qualifying practice runs.
Sainz once again proved to be the fastest of the 20 drivers on the course, clocking a stunning time of 1 minute and 32.065 seconds to beat Russell, who came in second.
In his improved MCL60, Norris kept turning the course and, after briefly setting the pace, finished third for McLaren. And Max Verstappen, driving for Red Bull, finished fourth after a challenging first day and despite having issues with his upshifts for much of the practice.
Although he had the fastest first sector, Charles Leclerc was forced to settle for fifth place in front of Lewis Hamilton in the Mercedes and Oscar Piastri in the McLaren after making a mistake in the second sector.
In FP3, Sergio Perez, like his Red Bull teammate Max Verstappen, suffered from his own problems but nevertheless finished eighth, ahead of Nico Hulkenberg's Haas, who continued to shine, and Yuki Tsunoda, who drove for AlphaTauri, who completed the top 10.
Alex Albon recovered from his engine troubles in FP2 to finish 17th for Williams, while Liam Lawson overcame a spin at Turn 2 to place 16th while being closely watched by Daniel Ricciardo on the AlphaTauri pit wall. Alfa Romeo's Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu finished 18th and 19th, respectively, while Logan Sargeant finished last. (ANI)