Charles Leclerc quickest as Lewis Hamilton crashes heavily in FP3

Charles Leclerc in action for Ferrari

Charles Leclerc again led a Ferrari 1-2 during final practice for the Belgian Grand Prix, as reigning World Champion Lewis Hamilton suffered a heavy crash.

Leclerc clocked a time of 1:44.206 to beat team-mate Sebastian Vettel by 0.451s, as Ferrari completed a clean sweep of practice sessions at Spa-Francorchamps.

The most dramatic incident in the one-hour session befell reigning champion and current points leader Hamilton. Hamilton lost the rear of his Mercedes W10 under braking for the Pif Paf chicane and tried saving the car, but skated into the barriers.

Hamilton suffered a substantial impact with the barriers and the front-left of the W10 sustained significant damage, giving Mercedes a hefty repair job ahead of qualifying.

The recovery of Hamilton’s car and checks to the barriers meant the session was suspended for 15 minutes.

Hamilton was uninjured in the accident and returned straight to the pits.

Valtteri Bottas was thus left to fly the flag for Mercedes and finished third, albeit within half a second of Leclerc, the closest the team has been to the front of the action so far this weekend.

Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo was an encouraging fourth while Max Verstappen, running an aggressively low downforce set-up, finished fifth.

Verstappen complained about being unhappy with his brake balance during an early run and felt he was stymied by traffic on his final effort.

Sergio Perez, running Mercedes’ older specification engine after his Friday failure, maintained strong pace for Racing Point by placing sixth, while Hamilton’s initial lap left him seventh.

Alfa Romeo classified eighth and ninth, with Kimi Raikkonen ahead of Antonio Giovinazzi, while Pierre Gasly rounded out the top 10 for Toro Rosso.

McLaren, fourth in the Constructors’ Championship, was a low-key 14th and 15th, while Lance Stroll was unable to match Perez and finished only 16th.

Red Bull’s Alexander Albon did not set a representative lap time on account of his impending grid penalty and finished at the rear of the 20-car field.

Qualifying for the Belgian Grand Prix is scheduled for 15:00 local time

Belgium - Practice 3

Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1 Flag   Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:44.206 9
2 Flag   Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:44.657 0.451 12
3 Flag   Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:44.703 0.497 11
4 Flag   Daniel Ricciardo Renault 1:44.974 0.768 10
5 Flag   Max Verstappen Red Bull 1:45.312 1.106 11
6 Flag   Sergio Perez Racing Point 1:45.521 1.315 12
7 Flag   Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:45.566 1.360 4
8 Flag   Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo 1:45.659 1.453 13
9 Flag   Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo 1:45.688 1.482 13
10 Flag   Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso 1:45.752 1.546 15
11 Flag   Romain Grosjean Haas 1:45.806 1.600 15
12 Flag   Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1:45.855 1.649 11
13 Flag   Kevin Magnussen Haas 1:46.004 1.798 15
14 Flag   Carlos Sainz McLaren 1:46.017 1.811 14
15 Flag   Lando Norris McLaren 1:46.270 2.064 13
16 Flag   Lance Stroll Racing Point 1:46.379 2.173 11
17 Flag   Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1:46.642 2.436 13
18 Flag   George Russell Williams 1:47.858 3.652 14
19 Flag   Robert Kubica Williams 1:48.350 4.144 14
20 Flag   Alexander Albon Red Bull 1:50.681 6.475 14