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FP3: Sainz narrowly leads Verstappen in action-packed final practice session in Monza

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MONZA, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 02: Carlos Sainz of Spain driving (55) the Ferrari SF-23 on track during

Ferrari continued their fine form from Friday as Carlos Sainz set the pace in the final practice session at the team’s home race in Monza, as he narrowly led rival Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton ahead of qualifying later today.

After an action-packed first day in Monza, the drivers returned for another go at the Temple of Speed. As they continued to adapt to the Alternative Tyre Allocation (ATA) for the weekend, plenty of the drivers strapped on a set of used tyres, with all three compounds on display to start the session.

PRACTICE DEBRIEF: Will Ferrari’s Friday pace at Monza translate to Italian GP podium glory?

And after the first 20 minutes of running, it was Verstappen who was once again setting the pace. The championship leader’s time of 1m 21.687s on the softs was good enough to lead Sergio Perez by over half a second with Hamilton just behind in third.

The drivers then began to swap tyres as the track looked to be ramping up, with Alex Albon jumping up to second place on a set of the medium tyres. As for Oscar Piastri, he was on a flying lap on the same compound before running through the gravel at Turn 4.

Italy 2023

Practice 3 results

PositionTeam NameTime
1SAI1:20.912
2VER+0.086s
3HAM+0.541s
4LEC+0.574s
5ALO+0.799s
View Full Results

Plenty of the drivers then bolted on a set of new softs with Sainz's time of a 1m 20.912s good enough to leapfrog Verstappen on his way to setting the fastest time, with the Dutch driver just 0.086s off the pace.

Hamilton, who was briefly fastest, finished third, although he was over half a second off Sainz’s time. 2019 Italian GP winner Charles Leclerc was fourth fastest, having set his time on old softs as he dipped his tyre in the gravel on his first lap.

READ MORE: Sainz left ‘puzzled’ by Ferrari’s pace-setting start to their home Grand Prix weekend at Monza

Fernando Alonso was fifth for Aston Martin, ahead of George Russell, with Kevin Magnussen and Nico Hulkenberg in an impressive seventh and eighth for Haas, ahead of Albon, although the Williams driver set his fastest time on the mediums.

Sergio Perez could not come out for a qualifying simulation run on the softs after a leak was found on his power unit. He was 10th fastest ahead of Lance Stroll – who recovered from his lack of running on Friday – to finish 11th for Aston Martin.

MONZA, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 02: Lando Norris of Great Britain driving the (4) McLaren MCL60 Mercedes

Norris was down at the back of the field after a difficult session for McLaren

Liam Lawson was the lead AlphaTauri in 12th ahead of team mate Yuki Tsunoda in 13th, while Piastri was 14th for McLaren – with replays showing him appearing to be impeded by Sainz on a flying lap late in the session with the two making contact.

READ MORE: Perez explains FP2 crash at Monza as Verstappen admits there’s ‘work to do’ at Red Bull

Logan Sargeant was in 15th for Williams, as Valtteri Bottas slotted his Alfa Romeo behind the American racer, with McLaren's Lando Norris down in 17th ahead of Esteban Ocon in 18th. Ocon’s Alpine team mate Pierre Gasly brought up the rear of the field, with Zhou Guanyu splitting the pair.

With third practice complete the drivers will now come together with their teams to finalise their set-ups ahead of qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix later today at 1600 local time.

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