Formula One: Perez fastest in final Miami GP practice as Ocon crashes

Sergio Perez drives during the final practice session ahead of the Miami grand prix. PHOTO: AFP

MIAMI (REUTERS) - Red Bull's Sergio Perez lapped fastest in final practice for the inaugural Miami Formula One Grand Prix on Saturday (May 7) as Alpine's Esteban Ocon crashed heavily and took a trip to the medical centre.

Perez's best lap of one minute 30.304 seconds around the Hard Rock Stadium was 0.194 quicker than Ferrari's world championship leader Charles Leclerc.

Red Bull's world champion Max Verstappen, 27 points behind Leclerc after four races, was third on the timesheets and 0.345 slower.

Alpine's Fernando Alonso was fourth and Aston Martin's Sebastian Vettel fifth.

Verstappen, who did only five flying laps on Friday and missed second practice due to an hydraulics issue, was back on the pace but had to brake hard late in the session to avoid crashing at the chicane.

The Haas pair of Mick Schumacher and Kevin Magnussen were sixth and eighth respectively with Alexander Albon ninth for Williams.

Britain's George Russell, fastest for Mercedes in Friday's second practice, was only 17th while seven-times world champion team mate Lewis Hamilton was 15th as the team struggled again with a bouncing car.

Ocon gave his mechanics plenty of work to do before qualifying after smashing into the wall sideways at turn 14, the same point where Ferrari's Carlos Sainz had crashed on Friday.

The incident brought out the red flags.

The Frenchman was taken for medical checks due to the high G-forces and cleared to continue. The team said the full extent of the damage would be assessed when the car was returned to the garage.

Alpine's Esteban Ocon crashes during the third practice session, ahead of the Miami grand prix. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

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