Mercedes endured a miserable Free Practice 3 session on Saturday at the Miami Grand Prix, apparently dashing hopes of a resurgence, with Sergio Perez quickest.
Before the action had begun, seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton had said that his car had ‘definitely improved’ following a host of changes made by the German team since their last outing in Imola.
Championship leader, Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, had also hoped that Mercedes were back to their best, saying: “It would be nice if they can join the battle with Red Bull and ourselves!” after their early-season struggles.
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However, while George Russell put down the fastest time at the second practice session on Friday, and the quickest of the day’s action, Mercedes once again found themselves well down the times on Saturday, which suggests they could struggle later on in the day’s qualifying ahead of Sunday’s Grand Prix.
It had seemed earlier on that Mercedes would carry their early form with them as Hamilton and Russell both clocked times that had them each momentarily in fourth place.
Despite that promise, Russell warned that his “tyres are nowhere” and he and Hamilton ended up in 15th and 17th respectively.
Amid the stresses and strains of the day's driving, Hamilton was nevertheless able to meet Michelle Obama, who watched the session.

Lewis Hamilton

Image credit: Getty Images

After weeks of struggle with porpoising, it appears that they still do not have a car that provides enough grip, or enough straight line speed.
Red Bull’s Perez finished as the fastest in FP3, with a time of 1:30.304. Second quickest was Leclerc, and Perez’s Red Bull teammate Max Verstappen - lucky to emerge unscathed when he hit a curb - was third.
After the conclusion of the session, Alpine confirmed that their driver Esteban Ocon would not be able to take part in qualifying.
In FP3 he crashed into a barrier and while he is able to compete in Sunday's race, there was not enough time to replace his damaged chassis for the day's second session.
"That was a big one but I am ok. A cracked chassis means I won’t be able to take part in Quali today. Absolutely gutted but full send for tomorrow. Allez Alpine," Ocon tweeted.
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