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Hamilton takes FP3; could Ferrari fail to make it out of Q1?

Hamilton takes FP3; could Ferrari fail to make it out of Q1?

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Hamilton takes FP3; could Ferrari fail to make it out of Q1?

Hamilton takes FP3; could Ferrari fail to make it out of Q1?

Lewis Hamilton took the honours in final practice ahead of the Belgian Grand Prix as Ferrari suffered yet more embarrassment.

A rain shower with 20 minutes of the hour remaining at Spa-Francorchamps led to all cars diving back into the garage while it passed, leading to a busy closing eight minutes on the low-fuel, soft tyre qualifying mode runs.

At one stage there was a line of cars queueing up into the Bus Stop Chicane waiting to begin their flying lap, leading to Williams' George Russell proclaiming it "a joke" and Red Bull's Max Verstappen stating "that's some traffic jam".

Come the conclusion, six-time F1 champion Hamilton found himself out in front in his Mercedes with a lap of one minute 43.255secs, finishing 0.230s ahead of Renault's Esteban Ocon, with McLaren's Lando Norris third, 0.386s adrift.

It was clear the traffic issues caused problems and those out in front managed to get in a clear lap, while others were compromised.

Ferrari, following a woeful Friday which team principal Mattia Binotto said was unpleasant, opted for a lower downforce package in a bid for greater straightline speed, albeit with the SF1000 compromised through the slower middle sector.

That was again evident with the lap times of Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel, who were a dismal 17th and 20th, a year on from finishing one-two in FP3 at this track.

Leclerc finished 1.892s behind Hamilton, with Vettel 2.165s adrift.

There was an argument that they were perhaps caught by the traffic, but whatever the excuses it still makes for dismal reading as it is clear the car has no pace for a power-heavy track.

Red Bull's Alex Albon was fourth on the timesheet, nearly half-a-second down, followed by Hamilton's Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas and then Verstappen, who had been quickest on Friday.

Renault's Daniel Ricciardo was seventh-tenths of a second back in seventh, followed closely by Lance Stroll in his Racing Point and McLaren's Carlos Sainz, with the second Racing Point of Sergio Perez completing the top 10.

The situation at the close was underlined by the fact Ocon was quickest in the first sector, and AlphaTauri's Daniil Kvyat the best in the final sector. The Russian was 12th.

Overall, the Ferrari-powered cars occupied six of the final seven times, led by Kevin Magnussen in his Haas despite the fact he did not take part in the last few minutes with his car again up and being checked over in the garage.

The Dane, like team-mate Romain Grosjean, only managed 12 laps across Friday after missing FP1 and the first hour of FP2 following an engine change.

There is every possibility a works Ferrari could fail to make it out of Q1.

Before you go...

Hamilton to offer Wolff calming tequila shot once new Mercedes deal done

"It didn't look too pleasant" - Binotto offers no excuses for Ferrari's shambolic Spa form

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