Verstappen tops rain-hit final practice in Barcelona

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Red Bull's Max Verstappen topped a largely irrelevant final practice in Barcelona, with a red flag and light rain restricting the teams' dry running.

An off by Williams' Logan Sargeant after just ten minutes put the session on a pause, with the skies releasing a light drizzle then deterring everyone from taking to the track until the final minutes of practice when the action got going once again.

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Dark clouds were rolling in at a steady pace when final practice of the weekend got underway, providing an impending threat to the teams' dry running at the Circuit de Catalunya.

Everyone sprung into action when the track went green but sure enough, after just eight minutes, a light drizzle set in above the circuit's final sector.

The conditions caught out Logan Sargeant who lost control of his Williams through the final corner, his car veering off course and settling against the outside barrier.

The off-track excursion brought out the red flag to allow the Williams to be recovered by safety crews as the drizzle became more widespread.

In the interim, with just four laps on the board Verstappen led the field from Perez and Hamilton.

As the rain only got worse during the red flag period, drivers were in no hurry to head back out went the track went green as there was little to gain by running in the precarious conditions just a few hours from qualifying.

However, McLaren's Lando Norris, shod with a set of intermediates, fancied an exploratory lap. But the Briton didn't force the issue and immediately returned to base.

With 20 minutes left on the clock, Ferrari's Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc, also on inters, followed suit, but after a single flying lap they peeled off into the pits.

Gradually, several other drivers tested the in-between conditions likely in a bid to gain some damp track knowledge in the event of a wet qualifying later in the afternoon.

Over the radio, Alex Albon noted that the track "feels quite dry", but Verstappen's pace was a full 10 seconds on his quickest lap from earlier in the session.

Still, a bold Norris attempted a flyer on the softs and the McLaren proved quicker than his colleagues running on inters, including Alpine's Pierre Gasly who visited the gravel trap at Turn 7.

Norris' lap encouraged the field to switch to softs which led to a flurry of activity in the closing minutes of the session but with no changes to the pecking order.

The largely irrelevant final practice thus drew to a close, having delivered little information in terms of extending the teams' knowledge from yesterday or providing a heads up for qualifying.

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