F1 Monaco GP: Perez beats Leclerc for best final practice

With less than three minutes on the clock, Leclerc demoted Perez to second place, but the Mexican responded in the dying seconds to take the lead with a lap of 1m12.476s, 0.041s faster than Leclerc.

Nicholas Latifi (Williams) and Fernando Alonso (Alpine) set the fastest lap times in the third and final F1 test session on the sunny streets of the principality.

They were soon joined by McLaren driver Daniel Ricciardo, who looked to make the most of FP3 after missing most of Friday’s FP2 with an error in the pool section on his opening lap.

But all eyes were on pre-event favorite Leclerc, who rejoined the track after eight minutes on softs and regained an early lead from teammate Carlos Sainz with a 1m14.008s effort.

Red Bull’s opening laps were four-tenths the pace of their title rival, Max Verstappen briefly taking third ahead of Perez, with Alonso a fifth early on.

Leclerc’s second effort was much faster again, bringing the benchmark down to 1m13.647s. It began a cycle of Ferrari and Red Bull commercial hits on Pirelli’s softer compound as the changing track continued to drop times, with Perez and Leclerc even setting an identical time of 1m13.297s.

In the 30th minute, Leclerc was again in the lead with a 1m12.885s, two tenths off his best FP2 time.

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari F1-75

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Meanwhile, McLaren’s Lando Norris briefly reclaimed his best resting spot in fifth, which he had held all Friday, only to lose it to AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly before the halfway mark.

Mercedes struggled to find the pace early on, George Russell and Lewis Hamilton finishing seventh and 10th respectively as Hamilton looked puzzled by the 1.2 second gap he was facing.

Sainz went straight to Ste Devote while trying to match Sainz around the Monegasque’s home track, which also happened to Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll.

During a mid-session lull with just over 20 minutes to go, Norris found a clear track to go third, soon to be beaten again by Gasly, suggesting the top teams still had time to go. find in the last third.

They duly did, with Leclerc and Perez trading the lead until Perez finally secured the session lead before the checkered flag.

Sainz took third place three tenths off Perez and half a tenth off Verstappen, who had seen one of his pushing laps ruined by traffic.

Gasly continued to hold off Norris for fifth, with Hamilton finally finding some pace to move up to seventh, despite still being nine tenths behind the leaders.

Kevin Magnussen was a solid eighth in the Haas, which still hasn’t received a significant upgrade.

Russell and Alonso complete the top 10, followed by Yuki Tsunoda, the second Haas to Mick Schumacher and Vettel.

George Russell, Mercedes W13

George Russell, Mercedes W13

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Valtteri Bottas continued a tough weekend for Alfa Romeo in P14, narrowly edging out Alex Albon in the lead of the Williams cars.

Ricciardo could only manage 16th following his loss of track time, with Alpine’s Esteban Ocon in 17th after a difficult session.

Stroll finished 18th for Aston Martin, while Zhou Guanyu and Latifi backed the timesheets in 19th and 20th respectively.

Traffic continued to be a problem as Verstappen was hampered by Zhou, who will be investigated by FIA race stewards, and Vettel was furious over a close call with Sainz, while Sainz was summoned to the stewards for a separate incident with Stroll.

There was also an incident between Perez and Russell, for which the Mexican was summoned by the stewards.

Vettel’s teammate Stroll hit the wall on the exit from the pool section after taking too much curb, damaging his front wing in an otherwise clean session.

Monaco F1 Grand Prix Results – FP3

#Monaco #Perez #beats #Leclerc #final #practice