Max Verstappen completes practice clean sweep at Saudi Arabian GP

Max Verstappen once again topped the time sheets ahead of Sergio Perez at the Saudi Arabian GP FP3

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Max Verstappen was once again the man to beat in final practice for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, completing a clean sweep after he also led FP1 and the all-important FP2.

Verstappen led by over six-tenths of a second from teammate Sergio Perez while Fernando Alonso was the only person within a second of the championship leader, at 0.998 seconds behind.

At the other end of the timesheets was Yuki Tsunoda, he was 19th at 2.3 seconds off the pace of Verstappen, though he still had the better session of the two AlphaTauris.

Nyck de Vries watched the whole session from the pitwall as AlphaTauri needed to change his engine, he’s the only driver on the grid who’s not raced in Jeddah so he’ll need to get on the track early in qualifying to make up for lost time.

Lance Stroll was fourth as Red Bull and Aston Martin locked out the top two rows of the grid, with Lewis Hamilton fifth.

The Ferraris left it late to make their final runs and had to battle traffic on their way to sixth for Charles Leclerc and tenth for Carlos Sainz.

Leclerc has a 10-place grid penalty for the race so Ferrari will hope Sainz can improve, while McLaren looked better lining up seventh and eighth.

However, they looked stronger in free practice for the Bahrain GP before the wheels came off on raceday.

Pierre Gasly was ninth in a pretty competitive top ten – from third to 15th were separated by just half a second.

Near misses remind drivers of Jeddah danger

The Jeddah Corniche Circuit is one of the toughest challenges on the F1 calendar, raced at high speed between claustrophobic walls with very little runoff if drivers do get it wrong.

And there were a few near misses, the most notable a turn eight incident between Verstappen and Norris where the Dutchman was sat on the racing line on a slow lap as the McLaren man barrelled up and only saw Verstappen‘s Red Bull at the last moment.

Meanwhile Ocon had a scary moment as he nearly lost control of his Alpine but managed to save it as it jumped across the track, while Leclerc and Piastri both had trips to the runoff areas.

Adam Dickinson
An international multi-award-winning journalist, Adam Dickinson has written for Total-Motorsport.com since June 2022 and also contributes to TNT Sports, Eurosport and the Rugby Paper. He's also had articles published in the Daily Telegraph and several local newspapers, previously worked for Last-Lap.co.uk and FeederSeries.net in motorsport, and graduated with a First-Class Journalism Degree from the University of Sheffield having also studied in Oklahoma. Adam started watching F1 by accident in 2007, catching the last race in Indianapolis, and attended his first race as a journalist at the 2023 British Grand Prix.
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