Max Verstappen draws Charles Leclerc, Nyck de Vries impresses: PlanetF1
Max Verstappen won last practice on Saturday, ahead of Charles Leclerc at Monza, while Nyck de Vries replaced Alex Albon in the Williams.
Breaking news in the minutes before the session was that Williams’ Albon was out with appendicitis, reserve driver De Vries was brought in to replace him for the rest of the weekend.
On what was shaping up to be a rocky start for the reigning Formula E champion, keen to secure a place on the starting grid next year, the only upside was that he had already done some laps on Friday when he drove the Aston Martin in FP1.
But switching between cars is never easy with the 28-year-old also having to wait for his first laps as Williams changed Albon’s FW44 to suit the Dutchman’s demands.
Another driver forced to wait was Mick Schumacher, his weekend going from bad to worse.
After just nine laps on Friday, Haas discovered a clutch problem on Saturday as they started the car for FP3 with the team saying its “participation in FP3 will be a challenge but the team is working to attempt late laps if possible.”
Sergio Perez set the tone with a 1:22.148, his teammate Verstappen annoyed as his hot lap was ruined by a slower George Russell, the latter running with race fuel until Verstappen’s low fuel race.
Verstappen took the lead, a 1:21.872, with Carlos Sainz trying his hand at drifting and Charles Leclerc coming in third behind the Red Bull drivers before edging out Perez for second.
De Vries ventured out with 35 minutes on the clock, his first lap time putting him P18 ahead of Kevin Magnussen. Alas he was also the first driver to end up in the gravel at Turn
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Sainz found himself in hot water, with the driver being investigated by marshals for going incredibly slow through Turn 1, Valtteri Bottas lock himself in because he had to brake so as not to hit the Ferrari from behind, the Alfa Romeo ending up taking the escape route.
Traffic continued to be a problem, Verstappen again forced his way through a moving chicane, a problem Zhou Guanyu also encountered.
Switching to soft tires for the final 20 minutes, Sainz locked in on his way to second while Nicholas Latifi impressed, the fastest man in the speed trap, on his way to eighth. Now facing a signing at the weekend, it has been suggested that Monza could decide Latifi’s future.
As more and more drivers traded their medium Pirellis for soft tyres, Fernando Alonso took fifth ahead of Lando Norris, both quicker than the Mercedes of george russell and Lewis Hamilton while Verstappen went further – his soft tire ran 0.6 seconds faster than his average course.
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Leclerc had to settle for second place, 0.353 seconds behind the championship leader. Catching a tow on his next flying lap, Leclerc closed the gap to 0.347 seconds with Perez third ahead of Sainz, Alonso and Norris.
De Vries finished session 14 quicker, less than a tenth of a second over Latifi, while Schumacher got away with 10 minutes to go, covered seven laps and finished P19.
1 Max Verstappen Red Bull 1:21.252 19 laps
2 Charles Leclerc Ferrari + 0.347 14 laps
3 Sergio Pérez Red Bull +0.596 24 laps
4 Carlos Sainz Ferrari + 0.645 15 laps
5 Fernando Alonso Alpine + 1.054 16 laps
6 Lando Norris McLaren + 1.067 17 laps
7 George Russell Mercedes + 1.105 23 laps
8 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri + 1.178 26 rounds
9 Esteban Ocon Alpine + 1.254 16 laps
10 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes + 1.315 20 laps
11 Guanyu Zhou Alfa Romeo Racing + 1.405 13 laps
12 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri + 1.503 20 laps
13 Nicholas Latifi Williams + 1.524 17 laps
14 Nyck de Vries Williams + 1.617 20 laps
15 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren + 1.619 18 laps
16 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo Racing + 1.698 25 laps
17 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin + 1.852 19 laps
18 Kevin Magnussen Haas + 1.951 16 laps
19 Mick Schumacher Haas + 2.140 7 laps
20 Lance Stroll Aston Martin + 2.487 15 laps