Verstappen tops red flagged final practice

Max Verstappen

Max Verstappen has topped a red flag shortened final practice session ahead of tomorrow’s Formula 1 Monaco Grand Prix.

The session was stopped with two minutes left on the clock when Mick Schumacher found the wall exiting Casino Square.

The German lost the Haas on the apex of the corner, tagging the wall with the left-rear before the front followed it in.

It was the second time the red flag had been shown during the session, Nicholas Latifi having nosed into the barriers exiting the Swimming Pool with just under 18 minutes to run.

Verstappen recorded a session’s best of 1:11.294s to narrowly edge Carlos Sainz on a 1:11.341s.

However, it was the Ferrari driver who looked the better of the two, the Spaniard’s tyres far older that those on the Red Bull.

Third best was Charles Leclerc, reinforcing the strength the Scuderia showed during Thursday’s two practice sessions.

Meanwhile, Lewis Hamilton was just seventh best in the final session prior to qualifying, while his Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas was fourth best.

It was a slow start, indeed Hamilton only climbed into his car with 10 minutes already on the clock in the hour-long session.

As it had been on Thursday, traffic remained a critical issue.

That was evidenced best by a near miss mid-session between Lando Norris and Sainz.

A mix up between the two saw the McLaren driver nearly plough into the rear of the Ferrari as they approached Antony Noughes.

There were several other near misses, both with traffic and the barriers, with Leclerc brushing the barriers on at least one occasion.

Heading in to qualifying, Ferrari remains a firm favourite, the SF21 showing itself to be especially compliant over the bumps.

Verstappen’s Red Bull appeared less well balanced, the Dutchman muscling his car far more to generate the lap time.

Mercedes has its work cut out, with cooler conditions appearing to hinder it from generating the tyre temperature it needed to match the front runners.

Hamilton even had a near miss, locking the rears at the second part of the Swimming Pool complex before correcting the snap and skating through the run-off area.

At McLaren, Norris ended the session with the sixth fastest time, while Daniel Ricciardo was just 13th.

The Australian reported traction issues over the radio, though was clearly more confident on the brakes, especially through the Nouvelle Chicane.

Nevertheless, his 1:12.959s was some 1.6s away from the outright pace, and a second away from Norris.

Qualifying for the Monaco Grand Prix follows from 23:00 AEST this evening.

Results: Formula 1 Monaco Grand Prix, Free Practice 3

Pos Num Driver Team Tim Diff Laps
1 33 Max Verstappen RED BULL RACING HONDA 1:11.294 19
2 55 Carlos Sainz FERRARI 1:11.341 +0.047s 28
3 16 Charles Leclerc FERRARI 1:11.552 +0.258s 27
4 77 Valtteri Bottas MERCEDES 1:11.765 +0.471s 21
5 11 Sergio Perez RED BULL RACING HONDA 1:11.817 +0.523s 18
6 4 Lando Norris MCLAREN MERCEDES 1:11.988 +0.694s 20
7 44 Lewis Hamilton MERCEDES 1:12.020 +0.726s 20
8 7 Kimi Räikkönen ALFA ROMEO RACING FERRARI 1:12.298 +1.004s 25
9 10 Pierre Gasly ALPHATAURI HONDA 1:12.357 +1.063s 28
10 5 Sebastian Vettel ASTON MARTIN MERCEDES 1:12.537 +1.243s 24
11 99 Antonio Giovinazzi ALFA ROMEO RACING FERRARI 1:12.539 +1.245s 21
12 18 Lance Stroll ASTON MARTIN MERCEDES 1:12.700 +1.406s 22
13 3 Daniel Ricciardo MCLAREN MERCEDES 1:12.959 +1.665s 25
14 47 Mick Schumacher HAAS FERRARI 1:13.139 +1.845s 21
15 14 Fernando Alonso ALPINE RENAULT 1:13.329 +2.035s 19
16 9 Nikita Mazepin HAAS FERRARI 1:13.390 +2.096s 20
17 63 George Russell WILLIAMS MERCEDES 1:13.447 +2.153s 29
18 6 Nicholas Latifi WILLIAMS MERCEDES 1:13.475 +2.181s 22
19 22 Yuki Tsunoda ALPHATAURI HONDA 1:13.522 +2.228s 30
20 31 Esteban Ocon ALPINE RENAULT 1:13.614 +2.320s 18

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