Max Verstappen charges to the front yet again - Portimão FP3 2021
(Image above by Lars Baron/Getty Images)
  • Lone bull charging for now

Max Verstappen took the honours once again as the quickest in FP3 as he put a quarter of a second gap between himself and championship rival Lewis Hamilton.

Behind Hamilton was Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas who had a relatively quiet session where he was not very noticed. Maybe this is what he needs to make strides forward.

Sergio Perez placed his Red Bull in fourth as there were signs of him matching Verstappen's pace at time but he is still not quite there yet.

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  • Alpine resurgence?

Esteban Ocon then finished the session in P5 with a performance that shows that the mixture of too hard tyre compounds and the track layout is something that the Alpine likes.

Behind were the two Ferraris with Charles Leclerc just edging out Carlos Sainz who appear to be the strong choice as the third-best team this season with on average solid performances at all three events so far.

The top 10 was completed by Lando Norris, Pierre Gasly and an outstanding performance from Kimi Raikkonen in P10. Yuki Tsunoda finishing just outside the top 10 trying to make up for a difficult weekend last time out.

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  • Aston Martin in pain

Daniel Riccardo came home next in P12 ahead of Antonio Giovinazzi and Fernando Alonso who all could have bettered their place and time if it were not for the wind or track limits so expect to see them making the top 10 uncomfortable come qualifying.

Next came Mick Schumacher in the Haas which looked horrid to drive yet he still extracted the time out of it into a position that would mean Q2 for the first time for the German.

This is where no one quite understands what has happened to Aston Martin. Lance Stroll has an upgrade package on his car this weekend yet could still only manage P16. George Russell, as always put in a good performance to take the car up to P17 ahead of four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel who was in no man's land.

The battle of the back row this weekend looks like it will be between Nicholas Latifi and Nikita Mazepin with the Canadian just edging out Mazepin for P19 at the end of FP3. An interesting Qualifying awaits us.