Vettel tops FP3, but four teams within 0.3s

Image by Andy Hone/LAT

Vettel tops FP3, but four teams within 0.3s

Formula 1

Vettel tops FP3, but four teams within 0.3s


Four different teams were within 0.3s at the front of the field as Sebastian Vettel set the pace in the final practice session for the Italian Grand Prix.

Charles Leclerc had been fastest in the two sessions on Friday but it was his Ferrari teammate who gave the home fans something to cheer as he posted a 1m20.294s to lead Max Verstappen by just 0.032s.

Ferrari has introduced an upgraded power unit at Monza — first run by its customer teams in Belgium — and did not appear to use its full capabilities during FP3, but Red Bull will still be encouraged to be so close to the ultimate pace on such a power-sensitive circuit. The result is a bittersweet one, however, with Verstappen starting from the back of the grid due to taking the new Spec 4 Honda power unit this weekend.

All four power unit manufacturers were in the mix at the front of the field, with Valtteri Bottas third for Mercedes, 0.109s slower than Vettel and with an identical lap time to Charles Leclerc in fourth. Bottas was classified third as a result of setting the time first.

Fifth was Daniel Ricciardo for Renault, who posted a 1m20.564s to finish ahead of Lewis Hamilton, while Nico Hulkenberg was a little under 0.2s adrift of his teammate in seventh place to underline the strong performance from the French constructor.

Alexander Albon, Antonio Giovinazzi and Daniil Kvyat rounded out the top 10 in a session that was reduced to 50 minutes of track time. Although the clock started running at noon local time, the pit lane did not open for the first 10 minutes while track repair work took place at Parabolica following a major crash in the first Formula 3 race earlier on Saturday morning.

That work meant drivers had more space to run wide at the final corner and there were a number of lap times getting deleted as a result.

Pierre Gasly was 13th behind Carlos Sainz and Sergio Perez, with the Frenchman running a special tribute helmet in memory of Anthoine Hubert, who was killed during last weekend’s Formula 2 race at Spa-Francorchamps.

Gasly is another driver who will start from the back of the grid due to a power unit penalty, with Lando Norris joining the Toro Rosso and Red Bull in doing the same. Their starting order at the back will be defined by their final qualifying positions.