Monza, FP3: Sainz keeps Ferrari on top in Italy

Ahead of Verstappen and Hamilton 


By Franck Drui

2 September 2023 - 13:39
Monza, FP3: Sainz keeps Ferrari on (...)

Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz set the fastest lap of final practice at Monza to beat F1 championship leading Red Bull driver Max Verstappen by just under a tenth of a second with Lewis Hamilton third for Mercedes.

At the start of the session, Red Bull’s Sergio Pérez, on Soft compound, set the early pace with a lap of 1:22.662 before McLaren’s Lando Norris, also on softs, posted a 1:22.515 to push the Mexican down the order. Then, after 10 minutes, Verstappen jumped to top spot with a lap of 1:21.838, as team-mate Pérez moved back to second place, 0.354s off the pace of the Dutchman who then lowered his own benchmark to 1:21.687s.Verstappen’s time was good enough to keep him at the top of the timesheet through the halfway mark.

After 34 minutes Alex Albon posted an impressive lap of 1:22.114 on Medium tyres to take second place but there was a nervous moment for McLaren’s Oscar Piastri a few minutes later when he went across the gravel at the second chicane, the Variante della Roggia.

Fifteen minutes from the end of the session, Mercedes’ George Russell jumped to second place before team-mate Hamilton pushed him and Verstappen down the order as he took top spot with a lap of 1:21.453s.

Verstappen was out on his qualifying simulation, however, and the Dutchman moved back to P1 with a lap 1:20.998 leaving Hamilton to tell his team that he didn’t know where to find that half second.

There was trouble for Verstappen’s team-mate, however. Pérez was denied a qualifying simulation when a fluid leak on his RB19 forced back to the Red Bull garage where his session ended early.

The Ferraris emerged five minutes from time and Sainz went quickest with a 1:20.912. However, Leclerc backed out of his lap after running wide at the second Lesmo.

Shortly after Sainz had taken top spot there was an odd incident when Piastri and Sainz were noted for causing a collision at the first chicane. Leclerc then made a second attempt on Soft tyres and took fourth, over half a second off his team-mate.

Fernando Alonso took fifth place for Aston Martin, almost eight tenths off Sainz and just under two hundredths of a second ahead of Russell. Kevin Magnussen was seventh for Haas ahead of team-mate Nico Hülkenberg, with Albon in ninth ahead of Pérez.

01 Carlos Sainz Ferrari SF-23 1:20.912 23
02 Max Verstappen Red Bull Honda RBPT RB19 1:20.988 23
03 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes W14 1:21.456 23
04 Charles Leclerc Ferrari SF-23 1:21.486 23
05 Fernando Alonso Aston Martin Mercedes AMR23 1:21.711 24
06 George Russell Mercedes W14 1:21.730 25
07 Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari VF-23 1:21.884 21
08 Nico Hülkenberg Haas Ferrari VF-23 1:21.985 27
09 Alex Albon Williams Mercedes FW45 1:22.054 18
10 Sergio Pérez Red Bull Honda RBPT RB19 1:22.192 16
11 Lance Stroll Aston Martin Mercedes AMR23 1:22.245 31
12 Liam Lawson AlphaTauri Honda RBPT AT04 1:22.296 29
13 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri Honda RBPT AT04 1:22.297 28
14 Oscar Piastri McLaren Mercedes MCL60 1:22.302 17
15 Logan Sargeant Williams Mercedes FW45 1:22.380 23
16 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo Ferrari C43 1:22.511 30
17 Lando Norris McLaren Mercedes MCL60 1:22.515 24
18 Esteban Ocon Alpine Renault A523 1:22.739 20
19 Guanyu Zhou Alfa Romeo Ferrari C43 1:22.742 30
20 Pierre Gasly Alpine Renault A523 1:22.852 22

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