Hamilton is hoping to become the first Formula One driver to reach 100 pole positions but Verstappen showed he will be hard to beat in qualifying with a time of one minute 18.489 seconds at the Algarve circuit.
It’s looking very close 👀@Max33Verstappen tops the final practice session, with the @MercedesAMGF1 drivers in P2… https://t.co/hKtYcm9TmJ
— Formula 1 (@F1) 1619870842000
The lap was 0.236 faster than Hamilton’s best effort and 0.331 quicker than the Briton’s Finnish team mate Valtteri Bottas.
Hamilton leads the standings after two races, a point clear of his Dutch rival thanks to a fastest lap at the previous race in Imola.
🏁 FP3 TOP 10 🏁VerstappenHamiltonBottasPerez (📸)OconLeclercSainzNorrisGaslyRaikkonen#PortugueseGP 🇵🇹 #F1 https://t.co/9gEmleK8l6
— Formula 1 (@F1) 1619870528000
Both have won and finished second once.
“It’s impossible to say now who the favourite is for qualifying. I think they are absolutely at equal pace and it will just come down to the driver,” commented 2016 world champion Nico Rosberg, Hamilton’s former team mate.
It was the first time this weekend that Red Bull had led a practice session after Bottas and Hamilton were quickest in Friday’s two.
Mexican Sergio Perez was fourth fastest for Red Bull with Esteban Ocon fifth for Renault-owned Alpine, who appear to have picked up pace this weekend.
The Ferrari pairing of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz were sixth and seventh with McLaren’s Lando Norris, who spun, eighth on the timesheets.
The virtual safety car was deployed during the session after a track advertising hoarding blew over in gusty conditions and had to be retrieved.