2019 Austrian GP: Leclerc tops final practice

Mechanics push back the Ferrari of driver Charles Leclerc during the third practice session of the Austrian Formula One Grand Prix in Spielberg on June 29, 2019. Image:  ANDREJ ISAKOVIC / AFP
Mechanics push back the Ferrari of driver Charles Leclerc during the third practice session of the Austrian Formula One Grand Prix in Spielberg on June 29, 2019. Image: ANDREJ ISAKOVIC / AFP

Charles Leclerc stayed on top of the times for Ferrari ahead of Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton in Saturday morning’s final free practice for this weekend’s 2019 Austrian Grand Prix.

The 21-year-old Monegasque, who was quickest on Friday, clocked a best lap in one minute and 3.987 seconds in slightly cooler, but still hot, conditions at the Spielberg circuit in the Styrian Alps, outpacing the defending five-time world champion by 0.143 seconds.

Hamilton’s Mercedes team mate Valtteri Bottas was two-tenths adrift in third ahead of four-time champion Sebastian Vettel in the second Ferrari, Max Verstappen of Red Bull and British rookie Lando Norris in the leading McLaren.

Under-pressure Pierre Gasly, who has been warned to improve his form, was seventh for Red Bull ahead of Carlos Sainz in the second McLaren, Antonio Giovinazzi of Alfa Romeo and Daniil Kvyat of Toro Rosso.

On a day of fierce sunshine, there was a change of wind direction that reduced the track temperature to 47 degrees and the air to 25.

The session was incident-free, unlike the chaos of Friday afternoon, but the luckless Gasly complained of a lack of power and Kevin Magnussen stopped running due to an oil leak.

Renault struggled, Nico Hulkenberg winding up 12th and Daniel Ricciardo 17th.

The team confirmed that Hulkenberg will have a five-place grid penalty after taking a new engine, as Ricciardo did a week earlier in France.

This meant he joined Sainz and Alex Albon of Toro Rosso who face penalties that send them to the back of the grid for taking entirely new power units.

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