Max Verstappen went fastest in a less than immaculate FP3 session at the Circuit Zandvoort as drivers struggled to get to grips with the wet track. George Russell and Fernando Alonso completed the top three.
The session got underway in full wet conditions, challenging even the most successful of drivers as a snap sent Verstappen through the grass at Turn 3.
The Dutchman was narrowly able to avoid damage, unlike Kevin Magnussen. Magnussen also lost control of the car at Turn 3, but damage to the front left corner saw his session end after just 11 minutes.
After a brief red flag period, drivers took to the track on a mix of extreme wet and intermediate Pirelli rubber. Charles Leclerc went to the top of the timesheets before immediately running deep at Turn 1. Leclerc was able to get the Ferrari stopped, inches from the barriers.
The stoppages kept coming as Pierre Gasly and Guanyu Zhou had simultaneous offs. While Gasly ran through the gravel at Turn 11, the Alfa Romeo found itself beached at Turn 13.
After a second stoppage, the intermediate compound seemed to be the way forward, although the track continued to prove a test with the risk of more rain looming.
Liam Lawson stepped in for Daniel Ricciardo at AlphaTauri after the Australian broke a metacarpal during a crash on Saturday. It had been a relatively clean session for Lawson who certainly has a steep learning curve to overcome. That was until a spin at the final corner for the reserve driver brought out another red flag, but Lawson would be able to return to the track.
The lap times tumbled in the final few minutes of the session, and with qualifying also likely to be affected by weather, the final practice hour provided drivers with some crucial lessons ahead of the afternoon.
It was Verstappen that prevailed in the tricky conditions. His time of 1:21.631 saw him sit almost four-tenths clear of Mercedes’ George Russell while Sergio Perez was third fastest, one second off the pace of his Red Bull teammate.
The McLaren duo of Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri had kept Verstappen honest throughout the session, but were unable to set a time in the closing moments of the session. Piastri was seventh fastest, ahead of Norris in 10th as both drivers slipped down the order after some late improvements.
Liam Lawson ended the session in P18, but should be pleased having escaped major drama and clocking 26 laps of the circuit.
Ferrari continue to look off colour as both drivers struggled to slow the car on the run into Turn 1. Neither driver was able to crack into the top 10, as similar issues hindered Alpine.
Qualifying for the Dutch Grand Prix begins at 15:00 local time.