The final practice hit-out at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza saw Sebastian Vettel maintain his position as the man to beat in this afternoon’s qualifying session for the Italian Formula 1 Grand Prix.
The German, as he was in Friday’s second practice session, led the way on the timesheets around the high-speed Monza layout, although this time his arch rival Lewis Hamilton was able to get his Mercedes between the two Ferrari drivers with a late lap just 0.08 seconds slower than Vettel’s ultimate time of 1:20.509.
Hamilton led the Mercedes charge to keep the Ferraris honest in the final hour, with the second Prancing Horse entry of Kimi Räikkönen third-quickest. His Finnish compatriot Valtteri Bottas was fourth-fastest, albeit a full half-second off Hamilton’s pace.
Behind the leading four, Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen finished fifth-fastest. The Dutch driver showed solid pace on the Soft compound tyres, suggesting he may try to run in in qualifying on that rubber in order to run a counter-strategy to his rivals in Sunday’s race.
With teammate Daniel Ricciardo already set to start towards the back of the grid courtesy of his power unit element penalties, team principal Christian Horner confirmed that the Australian is likely to run a long opening stint in the race – he finished the session eighth-fastest behind Kevin Magnussen’s Haas and Esteban Ocon’s Force India.
The top ten was completed by Sauber’s Charles Leclerc and the second Haas of Romain Grosjean.
Leclerc’s teammate Marcus Ericsson was back on track in a brand new chassis after his first was comprehensively destroyed in his huge accident in Friday’s second practice session. The Swede clocked the most laps of anyone in the session as he sought to make up for lost track time and finished the session sixteenth-fastest.
Nico Hülkenberg had his track time cut short when his Renault’s DRS failed and jammed open. The German – who takes two ten-place grid penalties this weekend – finished well down the order in 19th-fastest ahead of only Brendon Hartley’s Toro Rosso.
|FORMULA 1 GRAN PREMIO HEINEKEN D’ITALIA 2018 – FREE PRACTICE SESSION 3 TIMES|
|Driver||Team / Entry||Time||Gap||Laps|
|1.||Sebastian Vettel||Scuderia Ferrari SF71H||1:20.509||18|
|2.||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport F1W09||1:20.590||+ 0.081||14|
|3.||Kimi Räikkönen||Scuderia Ferrari SF71H||1:20.682||+ 0.173||16|
|4.||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport F1W09||1:21.112||+ 0.603||18|
|5.||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing TAG Heuer RB14||1:21.388||+ 0.879||15|
|6.||Kevin Magnussen||Haas F1 Team Ferrari VF-18||1:22.011||+ 1.502||15|
|7.||Esteban Ocon||Force India F1 Team Mercedes VJM11||1:22.055||+ 1.546||16|
|8.||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull Racing TAG Heuer RB14||1:22.310||+ 1.801||15|
|9.||Charles Leclerc||Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C37||1:22.313||+ 1.804||16|
|10.||Romain Grosjean||Haas F1 Team Ferrari VF-18||1:22.357||+ 1.848||16|
|11.||Sergio Pérez||Force India F1 Team Mercedes VJM11||1:22.486||+ 1.977||13|
|12.||Pierre Gasly||Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda STR13||1:22.631||+ 2.122||20|
|13.||Carlos Sainz Jr||Renault Sport F1 Team RS18||1:22.737||+ 2.228||15|
|14.||Sergey Sirotkin||Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW41||1:22.778||+ 2.269||20|
|15.||Lance Stroll||Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW41||1:22.860||+ 2.351||19|
|16.||Marcus Ericsson||Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C37||1:22.882||+ 2.373||25|
|17.||Fernando Alonso||McLaren F1 Team Renault MCL33||1:22.892||+ 2.383||23|
|18.||Stoffel Vandoorne||McLaren F1 Team Renault MCL33||1:22.987||+ 2.478||16|
|19.||Nico Hülkenberg||Renault Sport F1 Team RS18||1:23.149||+ 2.640||10|
|20.||Brendon Hartley||Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda STR13||1:23.164||+ 2.655||19|
Image via Scuderia Ferrari