FP3: Vettel hands Ferrari Italian practice hat-trick

Michelle Foster
Sebastian Vettel in action at Monza for Ferrari

© Photo4 / LaPresse.06/09/2019 Monza, Italy.Sport .Grand Prix Formula One Italia 2019.In the pic: Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF90

Wet or dry, it made no difference to Ferrari as they set the pace in Saturday’s final practice at Monza, this time with Sebastian Vettel up in P1.

Saturday’s final practice at Monza began with the pit lane exit light staying on red after the FIA made a late call to remove the sausage kerbs at Parabolica following a scary crash for Alex Peroni during the morning’s Formula 3 race.

The Campos Racing driver was launched into the air and crashed into the catch fence, which also required attention.

The repairs were completed and the track green-lighted ten minutes into the hour-long FP3 session.

Lando Norris was the first man out, taking to the track with a new Renault engine powering his McLaren, with the drivers taking advantage of the dry track and quickly laying down lap times.

Carlos Sainz went P1 with a 1:21.9 before shaving two-tenths off his time while Daniil Kvyat lined up second in the Toro Rosso before going quickly.

It was, however, all change at the top as Sebastian Vettel left the pits in his soft-tyred Ferrari. A 1:20.6 for the German with Charles Leclerc up to second, 0.3s down.

Romain Grosjean was the first to fall foul of the Parabolica track limits, losing his lap time as he put all four wheels off the track. It also meant his following lap’s time didn’t count. Kevin Magnussen followed suit.

Leclerc leapfrogged Vettel for P1, 0.1s ahead of his team-mate, with Daniel Ricciardo up to third as Mercedes prepared for a second run with tyre warmers on Hamilton’s front tyres but blowing cold air on the rears.

Max Verstappen was the last of the runners to post a time, his first attempt – halfway through the session – P3 on the soft Pirellis as he grabbed a tow off Valtteri Bottas and crossed the line with a 1:20.8.

His team-mate Alexander Albon joined the list of those running wide at Turn 11 and lost his lap time – twice.

Hamilton returned to the track, taking third place, while Bottas, out on a set of medium tyres, was only good enough for 10th place as he continued working on race pace.

There was a brief lull in the action before the drivers returned to the track, putting in a last-gasp qualifying simulation.

Ferrari were the first out, running in formation with Leclerc ahead of Vettel. The Monaco driver laid down a 1:20.452 with Vettel responding with a 1:20.331 to take P1. Leclerc, though, lost his time for running wide at Parabolica.

The tow game, predicted by Mercedes ahead of the weekend, began in the final 10 minutes as the drivers all tried not to be first, instead lining up behind one another.

That, though, wasn’t enough to dethrone Ferrari with Vettel going faster still with a 1:20.294.

Verstappen was second, 0.032s down, while Bottas and Leclerc posted the exact same time. The Finn did his first so grabbed P3.

Daniel Ricciardo was fifth for Renault ahead of Hamilton, Nico Hulkenberg, Albon, Antonio Giovinazzi and Kvyat.

1 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:20.294
2 Max Verstappen Red Bull 0.032s
3 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 0.109s
4 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 0.109s
5 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 0.270s
6 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 0.301s
7 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 0.458s
8 Alex Albon Red Bull 0.533s
9 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo Racing 0.587s
10 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 0.651s
11 Carlos Sainz McLaren 0.655s
12 Sergio Perez Racing Point 0.709s
13 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso 0.779s
14 Lando Norris McLaren 0.998s 21
15 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo Racing 1.031s
16 Kevin Magnussen Haas 1.042s
17 Romain Grosjean Haas 1.327s
18 Lance Stroll Racing Point 1.345s
19 George Russell Williams 2.080s
20 Robert Kubica Williams 2.464s

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