Monaco, FP3: Verstappen quickest in final practice

Hamilton brings out red flags

By Franck Drui

27 May 2023 - 13:33
Monaco, FP3: Verstappen quickest (...)

F1 Drivers’ Championship leader Max Verstappen topped the timesheet in final practice for the 2023 FIA Formula 1 Monaco Grand Prix, beating Red Bull team-mate Sergio Pérez by seven hundredths of a second as Lewis Hamilton brought the session to an early end when he hit the barriers at the Mirabeau corner.

At the start of the session, Pérez took an early lead with a lap of 1m15.641. Alpine’s Esteban Ocon, meanwhile, was forced back to the pit lane on his first run as he suffered a power loss that almost halted him in the tunnel. Pérez worked his way down 1:14.990 but the Mexican was soon beaten by McLaren’s Lando Norris who in turn was deposed by Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll. Pérez was quickly back on to, though, this time thanks to a lap of 1:14.377.

Verstappen then appeared for the first time and he eclipsed his team-mate by half a second to take top spot with his first flying lap. Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso went quicker, however, and he moved to P1 with a lap of 1:13.697.

As the first half of the session evolved Pérez once again moved to the top of the order but Verstappen found another burst of pace to rise above his team-mate getting down to 1:12.898 and then, after Pérez has responded with a 1:12.849, the Dutchman posted a lap of 1:12.776 to take control of P1.

As the final 10 minutes of the session arrived, Haas’ stopped on track at Portier and with his car in the middle of the track the Virtual Safety Car was released. That prevented Alonso from putting a qualifying sim, with the result that the Spaniard ended the session in an unrepresentative 14th place.

When the session got underway following the recovery of Magnussen’s car, Hamilton was quickly on trach and put in the fastest first sector. But the Mercedes driver’s hopes of progress up the timesheet were ended when he lost the rear of his car on entry to the Mirabeau corner and then slid front-on into the barriers.

The red flags were shown and as the recovery of his car began to eat into available time, race control indicated that the session would not be resumed.

Verstappen therefore kept top spot ahead of Pérez with Stroll in third. Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz was fourth, 0.485s off Verstappen. Norris finished fifth best ahead of Alpine’s Pierre Gasly while Charles Leclerc, who reported struggles with his Ferrari’s balance, ended the session in seventh place.

Hamilton’s crash denied him the chance to improve on eighth place, while Ocon managed to get back on track after his earlier issues to take ninth ahead of Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas.

01 Max Verstappen Red Bull Honda RBPT RB19 1:12.776 19
02 Sergio Pérez Red Bull Honda RBPT RB19 1:12.849 24
03 Lance Stroll Aston Martin Mercedes AMR23 1:12.942 20
04 Carlos Sainz Ferrari SF-23 1:13.261 20
05 Lando Norris McLaren Mercedes MCL60 1:13.396 21
06 Pierre Gasly Alpine Renault A523 1:13.453 24
07 Charles Leclerc Ferrari SF-23 1:13.475 19
08 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes W14 1:13.486 17
09 Esteban Ocon Alpine Renault A523 1:13.496 18
10 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo Ferrari C43 1:13.521 20
11 George Russell Mercedes W14 1:13.590 18
12 Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari VF-23 1:13.624 13
13 Nico Hülkenberg Haas Ferrari VF-23 1:13.650 19
14 Fernando Alonso Aston Martin Mercedes AMR23 1:13.697 18
15 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri Honda RBPT AT04 1:13.738 21
16 Guanyu Zhou Alfa Romeo Ferrari C43 1:13.772 20
17 Logan Sargeant Williams Mercedes FW45 1:13.851 19
18 Alex Albon Williams Mercedes FW45 1:13.930 23
19 Oscar Piastri McLaren Mercedes MCL60 1:13.998 18
20 Nyck de Vries AlphaTauri Honda RBPT AT04 1:14.187 24


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