Red Bull Racing’s Sergio Pérez topped the timesheet in the final practice session ahead of qualifying for the 2022 FIA Formula 1 Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Franorchamps. The Mexican driver finished just under two tenths clear of championship-leading team-mate Max Verstappen, in a session that was briefly halted by a red flag when Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc spun off.
Early in the final hour of practice Alfa Romeo’s Zhou Guanyu took top spot with a lap of 1:47.795. That put a tenth ahead of team-mate Valtteri Bottas, with third and fourth places occupied by the Aston Martins of Lance Stroll and Sebastian Vettel. As the first third of the session elapsed Haas’ Kevin Magnussen jumped to third but there was trouble for the Dane’s team-mate Mick Schumacher with the German being called back to the pit lane after his team had spotted a problem on the car’s data.
Five minutes before the halfway point, Ferrari drivers Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz finally emerged from the pit exit, and Sainz quickly moved to top spot thanks to his lap of 1:46.461 on softs compound Pirelli tyres. Meanwhile, Leclerc;s opening qualifying simulation left him four tenths off his Spanish team-mate.
Pérez then joined the action and the Mexican posted a lap of 1:45.972s to claim P1. Verstappen’s first run was inconclusive, however, as the championship leader made a mistake into the Bus Stop chicane and without an improvement he dropped to 12th place. His next run wasn’t without problems, either, as his race engineer advised him to back out of the run after he appeared to miss yellow flags brought out when AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly went wide at Blanchimont. However, after looking at the incident race officials gave the Red Bull driver the all clear and he vaulted to the top of the order half a second clear of his team-mate.
The session was then halted when Leclerc briefly brought out the race flags. The Ferrari driver went off track at Fagnes and clattered through the gravel trap before brushing the barriers without damage. The Ferrari driver was able to rejoin and the red flag period was short.
When the green flags flew again, Verstappen improved to 1:45.184s to apparently consolidate his position in P1 but in the final minutes Perez delivered a better lap, crossing the line in 1:45.047 to steal top spot away from his team-mate.
With Sainz third behind the Red Bulls, McLaren’s Lando Norris finished fourth ahead of Alpine’s Fernando Alonso, while Mercedes’ George Russell took sixth ahead of Leclerc. Eighth place went to Sebastian Vettel, Esteban Ocon finished ninth and Gasly took 10th place.
2022 FIA Formula 1 Belgian Grand Prix – Free Practice 3
1 Sergio Pérez Red Bull 1:45.047 19 240.029
2 Max Verstappen Red Bull 1:45.184 0.137 19 239.717
3 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 1:45.824 0.777 13 238.267
4 Lando Norris McLaren/Mercedes 1:45.965 0.918 20 237.950
5 Fernando Alonso Alpine/Renault 1:46.061 1.014 16 237.734
6 George Russell Mercedes 1:46.071 1.024 19 237.712
7 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:46.120 1.073 12 237.602
8 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin/Mercedes 1:46.166 1.119 18 237.499
9 Esteban Ocon Alpine/Renault 1:46.601 1.554 24 236.530
10 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri/Red Bull 1:46.604 1.557 19 236.523
11 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren/Mercedes 1:46.646 1.599 18 236.430
12 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:46.769 1.722 20 236.158
13 Nicholas Latifi Williams/Mercedes 1:46.811 1.764 20 236.065
14 Alexander Albon Williams/Mercedes 1:46.836 1.789 20 236.010
15 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo/Ferrari 1:46.881 1.834 20 235.910
16 Lance Stroll Aston Martin/Mercedes 1:46.975 1.928 16 235.703
17 Kevin Magnussen Haas/Ferrari 1:46.982 1.935 14 235.688
18 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri/Red Bull 1:47.035 1.988 23 235.571
19 Zhou Guanyu Alfa Romeo/Ferrari 1:47.089 2.042 20 235.452
20 Mick Schumacher Haas/Ferrari 1:52.494 7.447 6 224.139