FP3: McLaren closest to Mercedes as Ricciardo stops on track in third practice at Monza
Valtteri Bottas topped a third practice session full of slipstreaming action, ahead of McLaren’s Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris, while Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo stopped on track with a mechanical issue just after setting the fourth quickest time.
Bottas and Sainz were split by 0.229s as the Finn pushed track limits to the maximum in a spectacularly fast lap for Mercedes, while Sainz took P2 after a red flag period caused when Ricciardo was forced to pull over at the side of the track with what the team said was a suspected fuel pump failure on his Renault.
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The Australian already has a new power unit for this weekend and his session ended in disappointment with 10 minutes remaining as he crawled to a halt after the Della Roggia chicane, sparking fears for his participation in qualifying, which teakes place just two hours after FP3 - though the team said they were confident they would have his R.S.20 ready to run for the all-important session this afternoon.
Lando Norris was one place ahead of Ricciardo, while Lewis Hamilton rounded out the top-five for Mercedes, 0.350s back. Max Verstappen managed sixth for Red Bull – as the only driver to complete a fastest lap on medium tyres in the sesssion.
Hamilton's session nearly ended in tears as he had to dodge slow traffic approaching the Parabolica at speeds of almost 200mph, in a heart-stopping moment late on.
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Alex Albon took seventh on softs behind his Red Bull team mate, with Renault's Esteban Ocon eighth. The Racing Points lined up ninth and 10th, ahead of last year's Italian GP winner Charles Leclerc.
The AlphaTauris, in 12th and 13th, were the last drivers within a second of P1 – Daniil Kvyat ahead of Pierre Gasly – as Romain Grosjean of Haas beat Ferrari's Sebasitan Vettel to 14th.
Kevin Magnussen took 16th for Haas, just behind Vettel, while Kimi Raikkonen was 17th for Alfa Romeo.
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The two Williams drivers were led by George Russell in 18th, his team mate Nicholas Latifi 19th, as Antonio Giovinazzi rounded out the standings two seconds off top spot for Alfa Romeo.
With special qualifying engine modes now outlawed for this afternoon’s qualifying session and a minimum time delta in place to avoid what Lewis Hamilton predicted will be a “nightmare” scenario of heavy Monza traffic as drivers look for a tow, we’re set for a captivating shootout for pole at 1500 local time.
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FORMULA 1 GRAN PREMIO HEINEKEN D’ITALIA 2020
Practice 3 results
|1 Valtteri Bottas BOT Mercedes||1:20.089|
|2 Carlos Sainz SAI McLaren||+0.229s|
|3 Lando Norris NOR McLaren||+0.323s|
|4 Daniel Ricciardo RIC Renault||+0.330s|
|5 Lewis Hamilton HAM Mercedes||+0.350s|