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

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.

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