Verstappen leads Ferrari pair in Monaco FP3; heavy crash for Schumacher

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Verstappen leads Ferrari pair in Monaco FP3; heavy crash for Schumacher

Formula 1

Verstappen leads Ferrari pair in Monaco FP3; heavy crash for Schumacher

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Max Verstappen set the fastest time of final practice for the Monaco Grand Prix but Ferrari remained very strong in a session ended early by a heavy crash for Mick Schumacher.

The Haas rookie crashed with four minutes remaining in FP3, losing the rear at Casino Square and hitting the barrier hard on the outside of the track. The damage was significant and the team subsequently confirmed it could not be repaired in time for qualifying, when Schumacher had previously shown pace that suggested a Q2 appearance was possible.

It was the second red flag of the session after a similar stoppage with 18 minutes remaining when Nicholas Latifi crashed exiting the Swimming Pool. It was an age-old error as the Canadian turned in too early for the second part of that section, clipping the inside barrier. In turn that pushed the car wider for the final part of the chicane, launching the Williams across the large apex curb and into the outside wall.

It was a big enough hit that the medical car was deployed but Latifi climbed out unaided and said he was fine, leaving Williams with a big repair job to do before qualifying as well.

But when running was possible, it was Verstappen who went fastest with a 1m11.294s. The Red Bull driver was unhappy with his car’s handling on Thursday so progress appears to have been made, but that didn’t stop Ferrari from looking like a serious threat for pole position as Carlos Sainz was just 0.047s adrift in second place.

Charles Leclerc — who went straight on at Ste Devote with 20 minutes remaining but was able to rejoin easily — ended up a quarter of a second back in third, while Valtteri Bottas was the only other driver within half a second of Verstappen in fourth place.

Sergio Perez was fifth ahead of Lando Norris and Lewis Hamilton, although the latter two were unable to complete their final soft tire attempts before the red flag came out for Schumacher’s crash. Norris was another driver to have a worrying moment — albeit through no fault of his own — as he came across a slow-running Sainz out of Rascasse and had to brake hard to avoid running into the back of the Ferrari into the final corner (see video clip below). The Spaniard later apologized to his former teammate, citing a communications issue.

Kimi Raikkonen continued a strong weekend for Alfa Romeo in eighth ahead of Pierre Gasly and Sebastian Vettel, while Schumacher ended up 13th ahead of Fernando Alonso and Nikita Mazepin before his crash.

Although Mazepin was a quarter of a second slower than his teammate, it must be pointed out that he is the only Monaco rookie yet to crash this weekend, after two incidents for Schumacher and one each for Latifi and Yuki Tsunoda. The AlphaTauri driver ended FP3 in 19th place ahead of Esteban Ocon.

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