Williams Martini Racing claimed a 1-2 result in the final practice session for the Italian Formula 1 Grand Prix, which was limited to barely 15 minutes of raining thanks to heavy rain showers over the Autodromo Nazionale Monza circuit.
One year on from announcing his retirement-that-wasn’t, Felipe Massa topped the timesheets ahead of teammate Lance Stroll in a session where just seven drivers posted a timed lap.
With Friday’s two practice sessions running as planned despite some light rain showers between the two sessions, Saturday’s track action was severely impacted by heavy morning rain that saw qualifying for the third-tier GP3 Series cancelled altogether.
The pit lane remained closed when the FP3 session officially got underway, with the newly resurfaced start/finish straight featuring huge patches of standing water.
The FIA sent its Safety Car out at 10 to 15-minute intervals to assess any improvements in track conditions, with Race Director Charlie Whiting eventually deciding that the session could start with just 16 minutes of the original one hour session to run.
The Red Bull Racing duo of Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen were the first to brave the conditions on Pirelli’s Wet tyre compound, but both elected to return to the pits after an exploratory lap of the 5.7-kilometre circuit and took no further part in proceedings.
The same was the case for almost two-thirds of the field, who opted to avoid the risk of potential major damage to their cars with just a two-hour window until qualifying is scheduled to start.
The Toro Rossos of Carlos Sainz Jr and teammate Daniil Kvyat were the first to post timed runs and completed nine laps between them in the limited time available. Each driver found the conditions tricky, running off-track after locking up on approach to the Variante della Roggia chicane.
Sainz posted the benchmark time of 1:41.515 before being edged by Renault’s Nico Hülkenberg to the tune of just 0.02 seconds.
The German’s position at the top of the timesheets lasted just a few minutes before he was usurped by Massa and his rookie teammate Lance Stroll, who claimed first and second place respectively.
The lack of running and poor conditions meant no one was prepared to gamble on anything close to a qualifying-style run, and if conditions – as expected – remain damp then the afternoon’s knockout session could throw up a few interesting results.
|FORMULA 1 HEINEKEN GRAN PREMIO D’ITALIA 2017 – FREE PRACTICE 3 RESULTS|
|Driver||Team / Entry||Time||Tyre||Laps|
|1.||Felipe Massa||Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW40||1:40.660||4|
|2.||Lance Stroll||Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW40||1:40.888||4|
|3.||Nico Hulkenberg||Renault Sport F1 Team RS17||1:41.491||4|
|4.||Carlos Sainz Jr||Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault STR12||1:41.515||5|
|5.||Jolyon Palmer||Renault Sport F1 Team RS17||1:44.369||4|
|6.||Marcus Ericsson||Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C36||1:44.701||3|
|7.||Daniil Kvyat||Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault STR12||1:45.033||4|
|8.||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull Racing Tag Heuer RB13||no time||1|
|9.||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing Tag Heuer RB13||no time||1|
|10.||Sebastian Vettel||Scuderia Ferrari SF70H||no time||3|
|11.||Kimi Räikkönen||Scuderia Ferrari SF70H||no time||4|
|12.||Fernando Alonso||McLaren-Honda MCL32||no time||2|
|13.||Stoffel Vandoorne||McLaren-Honda MCL32||no time||4|
|14.||Kevin Magnussen||Haas F1 Team Ferrari VF-17||no time||1|
|15.||Romain Grosjean||Haas F1 Team Ferrari VF-17||no time||1|
|16.||Esteban Ocon||Sahara Force India Mercedes VJM10||no time||2|
|17.||Pascal Wehrlein||Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C36||no time||2|
|18.||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W08||no time||1|
|19.||Sergio Pérez||Sahara Force India Mercedes VJM10||no time||1|
|20.||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W08||no time||1|
Image via Sky Sports F1