FP3: Verstappen leads Leclerc and Perez in final Monza practice session
Red Bull driver Max Verstappen set the pace in Saturday’s third and final practice session for the Italian Grand Prix, beating Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and team mate Sergio Perez to top spot around the Monza circuit.
Verstappen posted a time of 1m 21.252s on soft tyres to beat Leclerc by a margin of 0.347s – the Monegasque’s first run on the red-marked tyre compromised by a mistake at the Variante della Roggia chicane – with Perez two-and-a-half tenths further back.
READ MORE: 5 things we learned from Friday practice at the Italian Grand Prix
Verstappen was also the quickest driver on the medium-shod runs – his early benchmark keeping him in the mix with Leclerc and Carlos Sainz even after the Ferraris had switched to softs.
It sets up an intriguing qualifying session later this afternoon, with Verstappen, Sainz and a host of other drivers confirmed to be taking penalties for engine and gearbox component changes.
FORMULA 1 PIRELLI GRAN PREMIO D’ITALIA 2022
Practice 3 results
|1 Max Verstappen VER Red Bull Racing||1:21.252|
|2 Charles Leclerc LEC Ferrari||+0.347s|
|3 Sergio Perez PER Red Bull Racing||+0.596s|
|4 Carlos Sainz SAI Ferrari||+0.645s|
|5 Fernando Alonso ALO Alpine||+1.054s|
Sainz was next up in the other Ferrari – half a tenth away from Perez – with Fernando Alonso the ‘best of the rest’ for Alpine in fifth and in prime position to benefit from the various penalties.
McLaren’s Lando Norris remained at the sharp-end in sixth, with Mercedes drivers George Russell and Lewis Hamilton seventh and 10th respectively – sandwiching AlphaTauri's Yuki Tsunoda and the Alpine of Esteban Ocon (the latter joining the penalty list with an engine change).
READ MORE: Horner explains Red Bull engine penalties at Monza as Verstappen says he’s ‘not worried’ about Ferrari’s pace
Grid penalties for the 2022 Italian Grand Prix
|Max Verstappen||5 places|
|Esteban Ocon||5 places|
|Sergio Perez||10 places|
|Mick Schumacher||15 places|
|Valtteri Bottas||15 places|
|Kevin Magnussen||15 places|
Zhou Guanyu led Alfa Romeo's charge in 11th position, five places and three-tenths quicker than team mate Valtteri Bottas, with the other AlphaTauri of Pierre Gasly in 12th.
At Williams, a late driver change saw Nyck de Vries step into Alex Albon’s car for FP3 – and the remainder of the weekend – after the Thai driver came down with appendicitis.
Fresh from his run in Sebastian Vettel’s Aston Martin during FP1, De Vries recovered from a trip through the gravel at Lesmo 1 to clock the 14th-fastest time, just under a tenth down on regular Williams driver Nicholas Latifi – both looking to secure a place on the 2023 grid.
Daniel Ricciardo trailed team mate Lando Norris by half a second en route to 15th position, ahead of the aforementioned Bottas and Vettel, and Kevin Magnussen's Haas (another to make power unit changes).
At the back, there were further problems for Mick Schumacher, who spent most of the session stuck in the garage due to a clutch issue striking when Haas fired up his car – engine penalties also being confirmed on his side of the garage.
READ MORE: Albon ruled out of Italian Grand Prix with appendicitis, as replacement De Vries prepares to make F1 race debut
It came after the German completed just nine laps on Friday. Having stepped aside for Antonio Giovinazzi in FP1, Schumacher's FP2 session was derailed at the halfway mark due to a power unit-related stoppage.
Lance Stroll brought up the rear for Aston Martin, six-tenths away from team mate Vettel and 2.5s off the pace set by Verstappen.
Qualifying for the 2022 Italian Grand Prix is set to begin at 1600 local time. With the likes of Verstappen, Perez, Sainz, and Hamilton taking penalties, who will start on pole at Monza?