Spanish GP: Carlos Sainz edges out Lando Norris and Charles Leclerc ahead of qualifying | F1 News

Carlos Sainz edged out Lando Norris in another tight practice session ahead of qualifying for the Spanish Grand Prix.

The top four were split by less than one tenth of a second with Charles Leclerc in third and Max Verstappen in fourth but the session ended with some drama at the end, when Leclerc made contact with Norris.

Leclerc was on a fast lap and appeared to be unhappy about being impeded by Norris, so slowed down and moved left, making small contact with the McLaren driver.

Just moments later Leclerc, Verstappen and Sainz all nearly tangled, with the first Leclerc-Norris incident under investigation by the stewards.

Mercedes’ George Russell and Lewis Hamilton were in fifth and sixth but both drivers are also on the fringe of being in the hunt for pole in qualifying, which is at 3pm on Sky Sports F1 and Sky Sports Main Event.

Ahead of final practice, a fire broke out at McLaren’s hospitality and Sky Sports News understands that at least two fire staff personnel were treated for smoke inhalation but their condition is not thought to be serious.

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An evacuation was called in the paddock after a fire broke out in the McLaren hospitality suite ahead of Practice 3 and Qualifying.

Narrow margins at the front

All weekend, there has been little to separate Ferrari, McLaren, Red Bull and Mercedes, even though the gaps were expected to increase at the front due to the track layout.

Sainz was 0.030s ahead of Norris on the last soft tyre runs in final practice, with Leclerc only 0.037s behind his Ferrari team-mate.

Verstappen, who has a fourth power unit in his car this weekend, so is on the verge of needing a grid penalty for using a fifth engine, was 0.074s behind Sainz but has shown he can produce when it matters most this year.

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Anthony Davidson analyses the chaos that unfolded during Practice 3.

Russell set the pace in the first half of the session but dropped to fifth at 0.174s behind, with Hamilton in sixth after not putting a clean lap together.

Sergio Perez has a three-grid place penalty for Sunday’s race, after driving back to the pits last time out in Canada with a damaged rear wing, and could be starting in the midfield as he’s been lacking performance all weekend.

The Mexican was three-quarters of a second slower than Sainz, ahead of Williams’ Alex Albon, Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso and McLaren’s Oscar Piastri.

Several drivers under investigation

Leclerc is hoping to repeat his Monaco heroics where he converted pole into a win, but could be hit with a grid penalty.

His swerve towards Norris on the run down to Turn Seven was described as a moment of “road rage” by Sky Sports F1’s Karun Chandhok.

He is meeting the stewards to explain his actions after being frustrated at alleged blocking from Norris, then came across Verstappen and Sainz also having their own incident, without colliding, on the run down to Turn 10.

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Lewis Hamilton and Lance Stroll bump into one another on track during the third practice session at the Spanish Grand Prix.

Earlier in the session, Lance Stroll had a similar incident where he made contact with Hamilton as he also showed his anger at alleged impeding.

They will also meet the stewards ahead of qualifying.

Spanish GP Practice Three Timesheet

Driver Team Time
1) Carlos Sainz Ferrari 1:13.013
2) Lando Norris McLaren +0.030
3) Charles Leclerc Ferrari +0.037
4) Max Verstappen Red Bull +0.074
5) George Russell Mercedes +0.151
6) Lewis Hamilton Mercedes +0.346
7) Sergio Perez Red Bull +0.710
8) Alex Albon Williams +0.740
9) Fernando Alonso Aston Martin +0.773
10) Oscar Piastri McLaren +0.894
11) Esteban Ocon Alpine +0.937
12) Pierre Gasly Alpine +0.951
13) Nico Hulkenberg Haas +0.962
14) Valtteri Bottas Sauber +1.011
15) Kevin Magnussen Haas +1.061
16) Daniel Ricciardo RB +1.148
17) Lance Stroll Aston Martin +1.241
18) Yuki Tsunoda RB +1.407
19) Zhou Guanyu Sauber +1.599
20) Logan Sargeant Williams +1.716

Sky Sports F1’s live Spanish GP schedule

Spanish GP

Saturday June 22
1.10pm: F2 Sprint
2.10pm: Spanish GP Qualifying build-up
3pm: Spanish GP Qualifying
5pm: F1 Academy Race 1

Sunday June 23
7.45am: F1 Academy Race 2
9am: F3 Feature Race
10.30am: F2 Feature Race
12:30pm: Grand Prix Sunday: Spanish GP build-up
4pm: Chequered Flag: Spanish GP reaction

Formula 1 heads back to Europe as the championship moves on to Barcelona for the Spanish Grand Prix and the start of a triple-header. Watch every session at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya this weekend, live on Sky Sports F1. Stream every F1 race and more with a NOW Sports Month Membership – No contract, cancel anytime

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