Max Verstappen has achieved the fastest lap time during the third practice after a second and fourth place in the first free practice sessions for the GP of Saudi Arabia. The leader in the World Cup standings was 0.214 ahead of rival Lewis Hamilton. Verstappen’s teammate Sergio Perez seized third place.

Hamilton nearly collided with Haas driver Nikita Mazepin during a run-out lap, who approached quickly, but a collision could be avoided. The Briton had to answer to the stewards for that action and for possibly ignoring a double yellow flag during training.

In the end, the stewards decided not to penalize Hamilton for ignoring the yellow flags. They found that there was no indication of a yellow flag: neither through the lights nor on the British driver’s dashboard. There may still be a sanction for the action at Mazepin.

Qualifying for tomorrow’s race will start at 6:00 PM Dutch time, which will start at 6:30 PM on the super-fast Jeddah Corniche Circuit.

Verstappen came second in the first practice, only half a tenth behind Hamilton. In the second free practice, Hamilton’s teammate Valtteri Bottas and Pierre Gasly were also faster than Verstappen. The Red Bull Racing driver conceded almost two tenths to Hamilton in the evening session.

World Cup battle can be decided

Verstappen can write history this weekend by taking home his first world title in Formula 1. The Dutchman has an eight-point lead in the World Cup standings over Hamilton, who won the last two races.

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