Monaco GP: Verstappen pips Sainz, Leclerc in final practice

Max Verstappen set the fastest time in a twice red-flagged FP3 session for Formula 1's 2021 Monaco Grand Prix ahead of Ferrari duo Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc.

Monaco GP: Verstappen pips Sainz, Leclerc in final practice

Mercedes pair Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton finished down in fourth and seventh in what was a subdued session from the world champion squad.

The two red flags followed Nicholas Latifi and Mick Schumacher crashing their Williams and Haas cars in separate incidents in the closing stages.

After overnight rain and with continuing cooler temperatures compared to the initial practice running on Thursday, the drivers were going ever faster throughout the one-hour session and as their respective runs progressed.

The key to a good laptime was working the tyres up to temperature in the lower temperatures and then keeping the tyres alive – as well as negotiate traffic smoothly – as a run of several flying laps progressed.

Kimi Raikkonen kicked the action off after no cars ventured out in the opening five minutes, setting the initial P1 benchmark at 1m24.437s, before he and teammate Antonio Giovinazzi quickly brought it down.

Raikkonen soon beat Giovinazzi's opening effort of 1m16.087s and continued to improve during his early laps on the soft tyre to get down to a 1m13.432s.

While Mercedes and Red Bull kept their cars in the garages for most of the opening 15-minutes, Thursday pacesetters Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz Jr were on track early in their Ferraris.

Just past the 10-minute mark, Sainz took over at the top spot with a 1m13.300s – also set on the soft tyres, which the majority of the field ran in the early stages.

Leclerc then deposed him with a 1m12.633s and the pair exchanges laps that kept on lowering the benchmark until Leclerc's 1m11.658s stayed quickest for a lengthy spell.

That was broken by Verstappen, who worked his tyres up to temperature over several laps and went quickest just before the 25-minute mark with a 1m11.485s.

But the Ferrari's were not done with their opening runs, as Sainz wrestled back the top spot with a 1m11.452s a few minutes later – and Leclerc looked like he might go faster still before a mistake at the chicane proved to be costly.

After a short mid-session lull, the Ferraris led the majority of the pack back out for another lengthy run on the softs – the final efforts to build towards qualifying.

Leclerc's preparations for another flying effort were disrupted by a trip down the Ste Devote escape road after carrying too much speed into the right-hander and opting to bail out, while Sainz was able to improve the top spot time to a 1m11.341s a short while later.

Just after Sainz crossed the line – where ahead of him Bottas was also having a moment at the first corner – the session was red-flagged after Latifi crashed at the exit of the second part of the Swimming Pool.

Latifi clipped the wall inside the first apex and as a result was spat wide and over the kerbs at the second apex, which sent him straight into the wall on the outside and broken the right front off his car.

The session restarted after a five-minute delay, which gave the drivers just over 10 minutes to complete their final qualifying simulation efforts.

Verstappen was out earlier than the Mercedes and Ferrari drivers and immediately got close to Sainz's time on his first flying lap.

As his run continued and the temperature built in his tyres, Verstappen found time shot to the top spot with a 1m11.294s, while Sainz, running just ahead of the Red Bull, did not improve.

Those laps ended up being the frontrunner's final real efforts, as the session was brought to an end with over two minutes left on the clock after Schumacher's incident at Casino Square.

The rookie driver lost the rear of his car coming through the right-hander that leads down the bumpy straight to Mirabeau.

Schumacher slid wide and smashed the rear of his Haas against the barrier, casing considerable damage to both rear wheels and his left front.

That meant Verstappen and Sainz finished as the top two, followed by Leclerc, who had still been building up to set a final flying lap when the red flags came out for the second time.

Bottas improved late on to slot into fourth, but Hamilton, who struggled with oversteer throughout FP3 – at one point shooting across the second part of the Swimming Pool's run-off after correcting a rear slide – unable to do likewise.

He therefore finished behind Sergio Perez and Lando Norris, who nearly ran into the back of Sainz during the early running when the Ferrari cut across his nose on the approach the final corner in what appeared to be an unfortunate botched attempt to get out of the McLaren's way.

Raikkonen finished eighth for Alfa Romeo , with Pierre Gasly and Sebastian Vettel closing out the top 10.

Latifi's best time put him P18, ahead of Yuki Tsunoda and Esteban Ocon at the rear of the pack.

Cla Driver Chassis Laps Time Gap
1 Netherlands Max Verstappen
Red Bull 19 1'11.294
2 Spain Carlos Sainz Jr.
Ferrari 28 1'11.341 0.047
3 Monaco Charles Leclerc
Ferrari 27 1'11.552 0.258
4 Finland Valtteri Bottas
Mercedes 21 1'11.765 0.471
5 Mexico Sergio Perez
Red Bull 18 1'11.817 0.523
6 United Kingdom Lando Norris
McLaren 20 1'11.988 0.694
7 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton
Mercedes 20 1'12.020 0.726
8 Finland Kimi Raikkonen
Alfa Romeo 25 1'12.298 1.004
9 France Pierre Gasly
AlphaTauri 28 1'12.357 1.063
10 Germany Sebastian Vettel
Aston Martin 24 1'12.537 1.243
11 Italy Antonio Giovinazzi
Alfa Romeo 21 1'12.539 1.245
12 Canada Lance Stroll
Aston Martin 22 1'12.700 1.406
13 Australia Daniel Ricciardo
McLaren 25 1'12.959 1.665
14 Germany Mick Schumacher
Haas 21 1'13.139 1.845
15 Spain Fernando Alonso
Alpine 19 1'13.329 2.035
16 Russian Federation Nikita Mazepin
Haas 20 1'13.390 2.096
17 United Kingdom George Russell
Williams 29 1'13.447 2.153
18 Canada Nicholas Latifi
Williams 22 1'13.475 2.181
19 Japan Yuki Tsunoda
AlphaTauri 30 1'13.522 2.228
20 France Esteban Ocon
Alpine 18 1'13.614 2.320
shares
comments

Related video

Aston Martin: Flexi-wing clampdown could cost some F1 teams 0.5s
Previous article

Aston Martin: Flexi-wing clampdown could cost some F1 teams 0.5s

Next article

Schumacher ruled out of Monaco GP qualifying after practice crash

Schumacher ruled out of Monaco GP qualifying after practice crash
Load comments
How getting sacked from Benetton made Mercedes' Allison Prime

How getting sacked from Benetton made Mercedes' Allison

He’s had a hand in world championship-winning Formula 1 cars for Benetton, Renault and Mercedes, and was also a cog in the Schumacher-Ferrari axis. Having recently ‘moved upstairs’ as Mercedes chief technical officer, James Allison tells Stuart Codling about his career path and why being axed by Benetton was one of the best things that ever happened to him.

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2021
The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback Prime

The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback

It’s easy to look at Robert Kubica’s second Formula 1 career and feel a sense of sadness that he didn’t reach the heights for which he seemed destined. But as Ben Anderson discovered, performance and results are almost meaningless in this context – something more fundamental and incredible happened…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2021
The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver for McLaren Prime

The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver for McLaren

From being lapped by his own teammate in Monaco to winning at Monza, it’s been a tumultuous first season at McLaren for Daniel Ricciardo. But, as he tells STUART CODLING, there’s more to the story of his turnaround than having a lovely summer holiday during Formula 1's summer break...

Formula 1
Nov 26, 2021
The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title Prime

The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title

As the battle continues to rage over the F1 2021 drivers' championship, teams up and down the grid are turning their attentions to the prize money attributed to each position in the constructors' standings. But F1's sliding scale rules governing wind tunnel and CFD use will soften the blow for those who miss out on the top places

Formula 1
Nov 25, 2021
The invisible enemy that's made Hamilton's title charge tougher Prime

The invisible enemy that's made Hamilton's title charge tougher

After winning his past few Formula 1 titles as a canter, Lewis Hamilton currently trails Max Verstappen by eight points heading into the final double-header of 2021. Although Red Bull has been his biggest on-track challenge, Hamilton feels that he has just as much to grapple with away from the circuit

Formula 1
Nov 24, 2021
Why F1's inconvenient penalties have to stay Prime

Why F1's inconvenient penalties have to stay

OPINION: Quibbles over the length of time taken by Formula 1's stewards over decisions are entirely valid. But however inconvenient it is, there can be no questioning the importance of having clearly defined rules that everyone understands and can stick to. Recent events have shown that ambiguity could have big consequences

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2021
The mistakes Red Bull cannot afford to repeat in F1 2021's title fight climax Prime

The mistakes Red Bull cannot afford to repeat in F1 2021's title fight climax

OPINION: Red Bull has had Formula 1’s fastest package for most of 2021, but in several of the title run-in events it has wasted the RB16B’s potential. It cannot afford to do so again with Lewis Hamilton motoring back towards Max Verstappen in the drivers’ standings with two rounds remaining

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2021
Qatar Grand Prix driver ratings Prime

Qatar Grand Prix driver ratings

Qatar was a virtual unknown for most as Formula 1 made its inaugural visit to the Gulf state, and tyre management quickly emerged as an even more critical factor than normal. Perhaps then it should come as no surprise that two of the championship's elder statesmen produced standout drives

Formula 1
Nov 22, 2021