Red Bull’s Sergio Perez during final practice before qualifying for the Belgian F1 Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium on Saturday.Reuters/Johanna Gelon

Spa-Francorchamps: Red Bull driver Sergio Perez was fastest in final practice before qualifying for the Belgian F1 Grand Prix on Saturday.

One of the leading contenders for pole position, the Mexican overtook team-mate Max Verstappen, who faces a grid drop due to power unit and gearbox-related penalties, in a lap of 1:45.047.

Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz was third, but nearly a second off the pace.

Verstappen, who was investigated for failing to slow down due to yellow flags, leads Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc by 80 points with nine races to go.

Leclerc hasn’t given up hope, but like Verstappen, he is set to line up at the back of the grid after picking up power unit and gearbox-related penalties.

The pair are one of seven drivers facing similar grid drops.

McLaren’s Lando Norris was fourth, followed by Alpine’s Fernando Alonso, Mercedes’ George Russell and Leclerc, who spun into the barriers.

Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel was eighth behind Esteban Ocon’s Alpine despite complaining of power unit problems. Pierre Gasly rounded out the top ten with the AlphaTauri.

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