Monaco, FP3: Verstappen quickest as Schumacher and Latifi crash

Sainz 2nd, Leclerc 3rd

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By Olivier Ferret

22 May 2021 - 13:01
Monaco, FP3: Verstappen quickest as (...)

Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen beat Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz by just under five hundredths of a second to take top spot in the final practice session for the Monaco Grand Prix as Williams’ Nichola Latifi and Haas’ Mick Schumacher both suffered heavy crashes.

Despite heavy overnight rain there was little sign of drivers taking a risk averse approach to the session and after a short lull following the green lights being turned on, Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Räikkönen got things going.

The Finn traded a couple of P1 times with team-mate Antonio Giovinazzi, but soon after Sainz and Ferrari team-mate Charles Leclerc joined the action and the pair quickly established an early hold on the top two spots on the timesheet. Leclerc eventually set the benchmark at 1:11.658.

Ferrari’s grip was broken by Verstappen. The Red Bull driver spent some time working his tyres up to temperature in the cool conditions but then stole P1 with a lap of 1m11.485s.

Sainz wasn’t done, however, and just before the field retired to the pit lane to prepare for their qualifying simulations he regained first place with a lap of 1:11.452s.

Ferrari were the first out on new softs but Leclerc’s first run was compromised by a mistake on the approach to Ste Devote and he was forced to use the escape road. Sainz, though, was able to put in a clean lap and he shaved more time off his own benchmark with a lap of 1:11.341.

The session was then briefly red-flagged. On the entry to the swimming pool section Latifi brushed the barrier with his front right wheel, which sent him bouncing across the inside kerb on exit and into the barrier on the right-hand side of the track.

After a five-minute delay the session re-started and Verstappen was first on track. Again he worked through a number of laps on the run before eventually delivering a lap that featured a purple second sector and personal bests at the start and end to claim top spot with a time of 1:11.294.

The session was brought to an end with over two minutes left on the clock when Schumacher brought out the red flags for a second time.

The Haas rookie carried too much speed out of Casino Square, lost the rear of his car and broadsided the barriers on the left side of the track.

Race control swiftly indicated that the session would not be re-started and that left Verstappen in P1 ahead of Sainz, with Leclerc in third place.

Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas took fourth ahead of Red Bull’s Sergio and McLaren’s Lando Norris, but Bottas’ team-mate and championship leader Lewis Hamilton finished in seventh place. The Briton complained of oversteer throughout.

Räikkönen finished eighth for Alfa Romeo, with Pierre Gasly and Sebastian Vettel closing out the top 10.

Pos.DriverCarTimeLaps
01 Max Verstappen Red Bull Honda RB16B 1:11.294 19
02 Carlos Sainz Ferrari SF21 1:11.341 28
03 Charles Leclerc Ferrari SF21 1:11.552 27
04 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes W12 1:11.765 21
05 Sergio Pérez Red Bull Honda RB16B 1:11.817 18
06 Lando Norris McLaren Mercedes MCL35M 1:11.988 20
07 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes W12 1:12.020 20
08 Kimi Räikkönen Alfa Romeo Ferrari C41 1:12.298 25
09 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri Honda AT02 1:12.357 28
10 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin Mercedes AMR21 1:12.537 24
11 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo Ferrari C41 1:12.539 21
12 Lance Stroll Aston Martin Mercedes AMR21 1:12.700 22
13 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren Mercedes MCL35M 1:12.959 25
14 Mick Schumacher Haas Ferrari VF-21 1:13.139 21
15 Fernando Alonso Alpine Renault A521 1:13.329 19
16 Nikita Mazepin Haas Ferrari VF-21 1:13.390 20
17 George Russell Williams Mercedes FW43B 1:13.447 29
18 Nicholas Latifi Williams Mercedes FW43B 1:13.475 22
19 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri Honda AT02 1:13.522 30
20 Esteban Ocon Alpine Renault A521 1:13.614 18

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