FP3 report: Max Verstappen pips Charles Leclerc, Nyck de Vries impresses

Michelle Foster
Max Verstappen putting in the laps at Monza. Italy September 2022

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen putting in the laps at Monza. Italy September 2022

Max Verstappen came to the fore in Saturday’s final practice, up on Charles Leclerc at Monza, as 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 drafted in as his replacement for the remainder of the weekend.

On what was set to a difficult debut for the reigning Formula E champion, keen to book a spot on next year’s grid, the one up side was that he’d already put in laps on Friday when he ran the Aston Martin in FP1.

But jumping from one car to another is never easy with the 28-year-old also made to wait to put in his first laps as Williams changed Albon’s FW44 to suit the Dutchman’s requirements.

Another driver made to wait was Mick Schumacher, his weekend going from bad to worse.

After just nine laps on Friday, Haas discovered a clutch issue on Saturday as they fired up the car for FP3 with the team saying his “participation in FP3 will be a challenge but team working to attempt some late laps if possible.”

Sergio Perez set the early pace with a 1:22.148, his team-mate Verstappen annoyed as his hot lap was ruined by a slower George Russell, the latter running with race fuel to Verstappen’s low fuel run.

Verstappen went onto hit the front, a 1:21.872, Carlos Sainz trying his hand at drifting, and Charles Leclerc slotting into third behind the Red Bull drivers before leapfrogging 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 find himself in the gravel at Turn

Sainz found himself in hot water, the driver under investigation by the stewards for going incredibly slowly into Turn 1, Valtteri Bottas locking up as he had to brake to avoid rear-ending the Ferrari, the Alfa Romeo ending up taking the escape road.

Traffic continued to be a problem, Verstappen again working his way through a mobile chicane, a problem that Zhou Guanyu also encountered.

Swapping to the soft tyres for the final 20 minutes, Sainz locked up on his way to second while Nicholas Latifi impressed, the fastest man in the speed trap, on his way to eighth. Now up against a rookie this weekend, it has been suggested Monza could decide Latifi’s future.

As more drivers swapped their medium Pirellis for soft tyres, Fernando Alonso went P5 ahead of Lando Norris, both faster than the Mercedes of George Russell and Lewis Hamilton while Verstappen edged further away – his soft tyre run 0.6 seconds faster than his medium run.

Leclerc had to settle for second, 0.353 seconds down on the championship leader. Grabbing a tow on his next flying lap, Leclerc reduced the gap to 0.347s with Perez third ahead of Sainz, Alonso and Norris.

De Vries finished the session 14 fastest, less than a tenth of a second down on Latifi, while Schumacher made it out 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 Perez 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 laps
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