The third Free Practice session for the Miami GP ended with the picture becoming clearer. In a session conducted in sultry conditions, Red Bull’s Sergio Perez topped the timesheets with Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc in second. There were a few key takeaways for the qualifying and the race on the new track where things are still unraveling. Let’s take a look at what they are!
Miami GP FP3: Here’s what we learned
#1 Normal order restored at the front
After anticipating a return of Mercedes to the front, it was still the usual suspects at the top as Ferrari and Red Bull traded blows. While throughout the session, Red Bull looked like the car to have, it’s still close. If Charles Leclerc pulls off a stunning pole position here, it won’t be a surprise.
#2 Mercedes running out of its operating window
The smooth-running Mercedes from yesterday that looked potent enough to run at the front was not there to be seen today. The car was porpoising quite heavily throughout the session and looked unstable on the track. Having said that, the track conditions were not optimal for running in FP3, and during the more representative FP2 session yesterday, Mercedes looked like a force to be reckoned with.
Can the German team find that form again for Qualifying? It looks a bit tough but we cannot count them out just yet.
#3 Watch out for Valtteri Bottas
That Alfa Romeo looks like a potent car this season and after an impressive showing at Imola, the car looks great this time around as well. The time put together by Valtteri Bottas on the soft tire was very impressive and there might be a scenario where he can manage a P5 in qualifying this time around.
#4 Alex Albon in a Williams is a man on a mission
Credit where it is due. Alex Albon is driving the wheels off that Williams. Sure, Nicholas Latifi is not a great F1 driver to have as a teammate. Without a doubt, he does not have the accolades or the pedigree of an Albon. Even against George Russell, however, Latifi did not look this bad. In the first two days of the Miami GP, Albon has twice pulled out a lap from his car that makes you stand up and take notice.
The former Red Bull driver has never driven with this much aura before and a year out of F1 has done him a world of good.
#5 FP3 of the Miami GP was an impressive session for Mick Schumacher
Mick Schumacher has been under the pump this season because of his rather below-par performances. More than performances, the shock has been at seeing him so far off the pace of Kevin Magnussen.
Even yesterday, on the first day at the Miami GP, he looked nowhere close to Magnussen in terms of performance (and was called out by us). FP3 today, however, saw Schumacher outperform the Dane with authority. The Haas team boss had mentioned that the German needed a perfect weekend to get his season back on track. FP3 at the Miami GP was the perfect foundation for Schumacher to build on.