Verstappen leads in the third practice session in Monza


Verstappen leads in the third practice session in Monza

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 teammate 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 run compromised by a mistake at the Variante della Roggia chicane – with Perez two-and-a-half tenths further back.

Verstappen was also the quickest driver on the medium-shod runs – his early benchmark keeping him in the mix with Leclerc and Sainz even after the Ferraris had switched to softs.

Max Verstappen Italian GP
Max Verstappen Italian GP

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 Red Bull Racing 1:21.252
2  Charles LECLERC Ferrari +0.347s
3  Sergio PEREZ Red Bull Racing +0.596s
4  Carlos SAINZ Ferrari +0.645s
5  Fernando ALONSO Alpine +1.054s

Carlos 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).

Grid penalties for the 2022 Italian Grand Prix

Max Verstappen 5 places
Esteban Ocon 5 places
Sergio Perez 10 places
Valtteri Bottas 15 places
Carlos Sainz Back-of-grid
Lewis Hamilton Back-of-grid
Yuki Tsunoda Back-of-grid

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-British 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.

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.

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