Verstappen fastest in Leclerc final test
Verstappen set the benchmark pace on the medium rubber in the early stages before improving his switch to the softs, edging Leclerc by 0.347 seconds in a scrappy session for the Ferraris.
At Williams, appendicitis forced Alex Albon to the sidelines and former Formula E champion de Vries in his seat for the remainder of the Italian GP.
De Vries, who drove for Aston Martin in FP1 in place of Sebastian Vettel, took to the Monza circuit ahead of his race debut on Sunday with 36 minutes remaining in the one-hour session and immediately moved up to 18th on medium tires .
A slow start to the final Monza weekend practice meant only six drivers had recorded lap times after the first 10 minutes of racing.
Red Bull’s Sergio Perez set the first benchmark with a 1m23.448s on a medium compound.
It then moved to 1m22.611s and 1m22.148s, with Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas around two seconds behind after a first run on soft rubber.
Perez’s Red Bull teammate Max Verstappen was forced to abort his first flying lap on medium tires just over 10 minutes into the session when he encountered slow traffic in the form of George Russell from Mercedes.
Charles Leclerc, Ferrari F1-75
Photo by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport footage
Several drivers encountered slow-moving traffic on their push laps, with Bottas finishing almost behind the Ferrari of a touring Carlos Sainz in Turn 1 20 minutes later.
Bottas was forced through the first chicane after puncturing his soft tires trying to avoid Perez, with the stewards placing the incident under investigation before opting to summon the Spaniard after FP3.
Sainz’s session was complicated by another complication when he was told to box soon after with a suspected fuel system problem, but he was able to get back on track with about half a remaining hour.
After his first lap time attack was hampered by Russell, Verstappen took the lead with a 1m21.872s on medium tires just under 20 minutes into the session as the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc moved up to second place on the same compound.
Verstappen’s lap remained intact when Sainz moved up to second on soft 15 minutes from time, before the Red Bull driver clocked 1m21.252s in his qualifying simulation on the redwall tyre.
It would be the fastest lap of the weekend so far ahead of qualifying, with Leclerc holding second ahead of Perez.
Sainz finished the session fourth ahead of Alpine’s Fernando Alonso and McLaren’s Lando Norris.
Fernando Alonso, Alpine A522
Photo by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport pictures
George Russell was the fastest Mercedes driver in seventh ahead of Yuki Tsunoda in the AlphaTauri and Alpine’s Esteban Ocon, who joins the list of nine grid penalties for Sunday’s race.
Lewis Hamilton completed sister Mercedes’ top 10 ahead of Alfa Romeo’s Zhou Guanyu, Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri) and the Williams duo of Nicholas Latifi and de Vries.
De Vries improved to 1m22.869s, although he suffered an off-track moment coming out of the first Lesmo with around half an hour of the session still to go.
McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo edged out Bottas, Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel, Haas duo Kevin Magnussen and Mick Schumacher – who was kept in his garage until the final 10 minutes with a clutch problem – and Lance Stroll in the second Aston.
Results Italian GP F1 – FP3