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Leclerc fastest in Belgium FP3, Lewis Hamilton Crashes

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 in FP3.

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 FP3 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 in the crash and the front-left of the W10 sustained significant damage, giving Mercedes a hefty repair job ahead of qualifying. 

Lewis Hamilton’s crash in FP3 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.

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