F1 Spanish GP 2024 Free Practice 3 – Less than a tenth between several cars as Verstappen only 4th

Follow all the F1 action on the Total Motorsport live blog as teams and drivers take to Barcelona for FP3 at the 2024 Spanish Grand Prix

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Welcome to Total-Motorsport’s F1 coverage of the Spanish GP 2024 Free Practice 3 session. Held at the iconic Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, today’s session marks the next step in an exciting Formula 1 weekend, where teams will gather vital data and refine their setups ahead of Sunday’s race. Stay with us as we bring you real-time updates and insights from the track.

The Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, often considered one of the most complete on the Formula 1 calendar, offers a challenging mix of high-speed corners and demanding straights. The circuit’s layout, including the high-speed Turn 3 and the intricate combination of Turns 13 and 14, tests the limits of both car and driver.

Lando Norris was fastest in the first practice session on Friday, just ahead of Max Verstappen in the Red Bull, but after complaining of issues with his car throughout FP2, the Dutchman could only manage P5 as Lewis Hamilton in the Mercedes showed once again that the Silver Arrows have pace.

The 2024 Spanish Grand Prix will take place over 66 laps of the 4.657-kilometre Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. The race weekend runs from Friday, June 21 until Sunday, June 23, 2024. With higher temperatures expected this year, managing tyre degradation will be crucial, potentially affecting strategy decisions for the rest of the weekend.

F1 Spanish GP 2024 FP3: News and Latest Updates

Stay tuned to Total-Motorsport.com for all the live action from the 2024 Spanish GP with this third and final practice session at the historic Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.


REPORT: Tightest field of the season beckons ahead of qualifying

Less than a tenth split Carlos Sainz’s fastest time from Max Verstappen’s effort in fourth as Formula 1 could be set for its closest qualifying session of the season following a thrilling FP3 in Spain!

Mercedes, Ferrari and McLaren all looked to continue their form through the weekend in Saturday’s morning session and that’s exactly what they did as they all shared the fastest time at separate stages leaving nobody sure of what the true order is.

Max Verstappen managed to recover from the oversteer that plagued him in FP1 and FP2 to drag himself into the hunt for pole once again as his and Red Bull’s sheer relentlessness for success continues to go unsatiated through 2024, ensuring their rivals will not have an easy weekend as they did in Monaco.

But under the sun in Barcelona, it appears the heat caused some brain fades from the drivers with both Lance Stroll and Charles Leclerc appearing to intentionally crash into Lewis Hamilton and Lando Norris upon being impeded on their fast laps.

They’re both under investigation now by the FIA, meanwhile Max Verstappen was caught dawdling on the racing line to upset Carlos Sainz too.

Towards the back of the field, half a second separates 17th from seventh indicating a critical weekend for the back-running teams like Sauber, Alpine and Williams who could all find themselves in the mix for points if both Aston Martin’s, Oscar Piastri and Sergio Perez continue to struggle to find time this weekend…

Stay with Total-Motorsport.com for LIVE updates of qualifying which gets underway at 15:00 BST/16:00 local time in Spain.

Multiple impedings on the final lap!

Charles Leclerc feels like he’s impeded by Lando Norris on the slow lap as the pair touch, although Norris was OFF the racing line so that’s a very strange incident all together. That will surely be investigated! Norris feels as though he has damage.

Carlos Sainz, on his own push lap, then tries to work his way between a McLaren and a Red Bull only for Max Verstappen to get in his way and force him to abandon his own lap!

Chaos in Catalunya!

FIVE MINUTES TO GO: Nip and tuck at the front!

The front five cars are barely split by anything at all as qualifying looks prepared to be insane at the Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona in 2024!

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

Lewis Hamilton is only +0.346 back from the front time too but he might have made a mistake on his fastest lap, dipping into the gravel… 👀

Sainz goes fastest!

Carlos Sainz goes fastest overall with a 1:13.013 to beat Lando Norris by just 0.030! Max Verstappen finds the pace to go third fastest, around 0.074 back, whilst Sergio Perez can only go seventh fastest, seven tenths off the pace.

CONTACT: STROLL HITS HAMILTON

Lance Stroll is impeded at Turn 5 by Lewis Hamilton with the Mercedes going slowly and seemingly to be unaware of his surroundings. Hamilton takes the blame and apologises but Stroll drives into the side of him to give him love tap.

The incident has been noted by race control.

10 MINUTES TO GO: Mercedes 2-3

Lewis Hamilton goes third fastest behind Lando Norris around three tenths back from Mercedes’ customer team, McLaren. George Russell goes to second fastest, trailing by around a tenth.

Then comes both Ferrari’s with Sainz ahead of Leclerc. Verstappen is currently down in 12th but he is on an out-lap now.

15 MINUTES TO GO: Norris goes fastest

Lando Norris posts a 1:13.043 to go fastest overall to beat George Russell by approximately 0.3 tenths. The rest of the front-runners are due to come out soon and Alex Albon pops into 5th ahead of Lewis Hamilton.

Teams going back to quali sims

Here comes the fun stuff as teams begin to switch back to the soft tyres to get in some final qualifying simulations ahead of later today.

Perez nowhere to be found

Sergio Perez is currently stuck in 13th-place, way off the pace of the front-runners by an astonishing 1.589 over one lap whilst he is also carrying a three-place grid penalty for driving in an unsafe manner at the 2024 Canadian GP.

Will he manage to recover this weekend and arguably his season?

30 MINUTES TO GO: No time updates

Teams have switched to their long-runs and race simulations now so don’t expect too many faster times springing up as far as the front-runners are concerned. Many are on mediums and many are on multi-lap runs.

George Russell’s Mercedes leads the way with a 1:13.431. Then comes Lando Norris +0.104 back, Carlos Sainz +0.105, Charles Leclerc +0.141, Lewis Hamilton +0.434 and Max Verstappen +0.806.

Will we get a four-way fight for the win this weekend? Will we see six drivers gunning for victory? What a race that would be!

Tyre deg proves the scorching temperatures in Spain

Pirelli have brought the hardest tyres they have in their range to the Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona, with their softs for this weekend being good enough to be mediums elsewhere, and even they’re only hanging on for one lap.

A combination of baking hot track and air temperatures and a high-load circuit thanks to long, fast corners, means managing tyre life will be the key to success for this weekend.

Aston Martin off the pace

Aston Martin reportedly held a private meeting with Adrian Newey at their new, hyper-modern, development facility in England. Billionaire Lawrence Stroll has invested a lot of money into the team but is Newey’s brain going to be something even he can’t buy?

Either way, the team are a long way off the pace right now. Fernando Alonso trails George Russell by 1.549 seconds as he languishes in 12th place, whilst Lance Stroll is around four tenths back from his teammate in 16th.

40 MINUTES TO GO: Russell still on top

Mercedes continue to look competitive through the opening 20 minutes, although that time from Max Verstappen on the mediums is one to watch since he’s within a second of the soft-running Mercedes cars.

Everyone above Verstappen is on the softs, except for Norris.

George Russell: 1:13.431

Lando Norris +0.104

Carlos Sainz +0.105

Charles Leclerc +0.141

Lewis Hamilton +0.434

Max Verstappen +0.806

Couple of pains in the leg for the drivers at the moment…

Lance Stroll and George Russell both box and request more padding for their knees, which will be hitting the carbon fibre structure of their cars.

Carbon fibre is supposed to be light and tough, but the drivers are often pulling multiple times their body weights meaning their knees will be hitting the cars at 2-5x whatever it naturally weighs which is very uncomfortable.

Here are the tyres teams had going into FP3:

Pirelli forecast a two-stop race in Barcelona so that could mean a medium-hard-medium strategic variation would be the fastest way to the chequered flag, but that depends on the run programs the teams want to use through FP3 and qualifying.

Russell now fastest man on track

George Russell now jumps above Lewis Hamilton by a handy 0.4 as Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc slot in between to become the meat of a Mercedes sandwich.

All four cars are running the softs at the moment, whilst the two Red Bulls are on the mediums. Fuel levels and engine modes are not clear at the moment.

50 MINUTES TO GO: Hamilton leads the timing board

More and more cars are slowly coming out onto the track now but quite a lot are still sat in the garage. The Aston Martin’s came out to scrub a set of hard tyres, which basically means one out-lap before pitting, to give them more grip if they’re used in the race tomorrow.

So far, Lewis Hamilton leads Max Verstappen at the top of the timing boards, with Sergio Perez close behind the two world champions.

McLaren’s statement on the earlier fire:

Both of their drivers can compete in FP3 but their minds will be on the team members who had to escape flames and McLaren has issued a statement on the matter confirming a safe evacuation of the building.

GREEN LIGHT: The pit-lane is open

Teams have one hour to perfect their set-ups and Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes is the first car out on track at the moment as FP3 gets underway. He’s running the soft tyre for his opening laps. Does he fancy his chances for the rest of the weekend?

“P1 was so-so. We learned a lot in that session then P2 felt quite a bit better,” Hamilton told media at the Spanish GP. “Made some good changes to the car and I felt great today.”

“Very hot track, very tough on the tyres, especially on the long run. It doesn’t feel like we were too far off. I won’t take too much notice of lap times necessarily. I think the car is definitely in a better place.

“I think we have some work to improve it overnight to see if we can hold onto the Red Bulls, Ferraris and McLarens.”

Update on the McLaren motorhome fire

“I’ve just spoken to someone from the team who was in the kitchen and they say the smoke has come from between the floors which explains why it was difficult to put out,” Rachel Brookes told Sky Sports F1. “They think it was electrical. 

“The smoke came down into the hospitality which was busy with media and guests. The driver rooms are inside the ground floor, so they need to get their helmets and race suits, unless they have spares for final practice.

“Everyone from McLaren got out OK but a couple of fire personnel have been taken away with oxygen masks. We could smell the smoke from the TV compound which is quite a way away.”

Total-Motorsport.com sends its best wishes to all those requiring medical attention for the incident.

Upgrades galore: Ferrari sense blood in 2024…

Ferrari have brought not one, not two, but six upgrades to the 2024 Spanish Grand Prix as they sense vulnerability from Red Bull, can they fight for the win this weekend with their upgraded car?

Hats off to Mario Isola and his dedication

Mario Isola, who leads Pirelli’s development of F1’s tyres, also serves as a paramedic and he has made sure he’s at hand to help the Spanish emergency services combat the fire at the McLaren motorhome.

ICYMI: FP2’s report

Red Bull off the pace and a big question over the degradation of the tyres makes all the ingredients for a very interesting qualifying in the baking Spanish heat.

Here’s what happened in FP2.

BREAKING: Fire at the McLaren motorhome

Ambulances and fire services have been dispatched to the Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona with what Sky Sports F1’s Craig Slater reports was a kitchen fire at the McLaren F1 motorhome.

Fire fighters have been spotted running into the building with a hose whilst one person, appearing to be middle-aged man, has been taken into the ambulance with with an oxygen/air breathing aid around his face.

Welcome to the blog for Free Practice 3 at the 2024 Spanish Grand Prix!

This session is the last chance teams have to improve their set-ups prior to qualifying later today and it gives them their only minutes to test any changes they have made overnight.

McLaren, Mercedes and Ferrari all seemed strong in Friday’s FP1 and FP2 but Red Bull do not seem to have their car under their feet yet as Max Verstappen bemoaned constant understeer throughout the corners, whilst Sergio Perez simply lacked the pace to fight.

Will the world champions recover or are we in for another blockbuster weekend of F1?

Spanish GP Weather: Latest forecast for FP3 and Quali

Saturday’s forecast presents a higher chance of rain, with a 20% likelihood of showers, especially in the afternoon during qualifying. Temperatures will range from 27°C to 30°C (81°F to 86°F), making for a warm but potentially wet day. The winds are expected to be light, coming from the east-northeast at about 9 km/h, with gusts up to 35 km/h​​.

Spanish GP 2024 Pirelli Tyre Info

Tyre management at the 2024 Spanish GP is set to play a pivotal role, with Pirelli bringing its hardest compounds—C1 as Hard, C2 as Medium, and C3 as Soft—to the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. Known for its technical demands, the circuit exerts significant lateral forces, particularly on the left side due to the predominance of right-hand turns, challenging tyre durability and performance. The higher temperatures expected this year add another layer of complexity, likely impacting tyre degradation and influencing strategic decisions throughout the weekend.

Pirelli tyre information for the 2024 Spanish GP | Pirelli
Pirelli tyre information for the 2024 Spanish GP | Pirelli

Where to Watch the F1 2024 Spanish GP

Sky Sports F1 remains the home for live Formula 1 racing in the UK. The channel will provide comprehensive coverage of the 2024 Spanish GP, including practice, qualifying, and the race itself. M

Brandon Sutton
Brandon Sutton
Brandon is an alumni of an NCTJ and BJTC Liverpool John Moores University course, and has been with Total-Motorsport.com for over a year now. He enjoys covering all forms of motorsport but particularly focuses on Formula 1, and Brandon loves to debate various topics of the sport and other interests, especially if that topic doesn't have an open/shut answer such as the GOAT debate.
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