Ferrari staged something of a fightback in the final practice session at the Monaco Grand Prix, with Charles Leclerc delighting his local fans with the fastest time of the weekend. In typical Ferrari fashion, however, there’s a risk that neither he nor teammate Sebastian Vettel will be a contender for pole position.
The Italian team’s build-up to qualifying took a major hit – quite literally – when Vettel locked up and slid his car into the barriers at Sainte-Dévote barely fifteen minutes into the one-hour session. The German will have a nervous wait to see whether his car can be repaired in the two-hour window in time for qualifying.
A bigger worry the team may face is whether Leclerc will be hit with a grid penalty after he was reported for driving too quickly under the Virtual Safety Car conditions that were triggered by his teammate’s accident. The last driver to be penalised for such an infraction was Vettel himself at the 2018 United States Grand Prix, ironically for a VSC triggered by (then Sauber driver) Leclerc…
What will encourage Ferrari was the pace shown by Leclerc, who managed to break Mercedes’ stranglehold on the top of the classification that has stretched to FP3 at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix in April.
The Monégasque native managed to outpace Valtteri Bottas to the tune of just 0.053 seconds, while Thursday pace-setter Lewis Hamilton placed third-fastest, two-tenths of a second adrift.
Fourth and fifth behind the Mercedes duo – whose cars were fitted with red-painted halos as a touching tribute to Niki Lauda – were the Red Bull Racing Hondas of Max Verstappen and Pierre Gasly. With both drivers from the Milton Keynes team lapping within half a second of Leclerc’s best time, they remain very much in the mix ahead of qualifying.
Finishing the session a very impressive sixth-fastest was Antonio Giovinazzi in the Alfa Romeo. The GP2 Series runner-up outpaced teammate Kimi Räikkönen (P9) for the second session this weekend on the event of the Finn’s 300th Grand Prix appearance, with the pair separated by Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat and the Haas Ferrari of Kevin Magnussen.
Alexander Albon completed the top ten in the second Toro Rosso, while the Renaults of Nico Hülkenberg and defending Monaco Grand Prix winner Daniel Ricciardo showed improved pace to be eleventh and twelfth respectively.
|FORMULA 1 GRAND PRIX DE MONACO 2019 – FREE PRACTICE SESSION 3|
|Driver||Team / Entry||Time||Gap||Laps|
|1.||Charles Leclerc||Scuderia Ferrari SF90||1:11.265||26|
|2.||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes-AMG Motorsport W10||1:11.318||+ 0.053||27|
|3.||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes-AMG Motorsport W10||1:11.478||+ 0.213||27|
|4.||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing RB15||1:11.539||+ 0.274||24|
|5.||Pierre Gasly||Red Bull Racing RB15||1:11.738||+ 0.473||27|
|6.||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo Racing C38||1:12.170||+ 0.905||23|
|7.||Daniil Kvyat||Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda STR14||1:12.194||+ 0.929||27|
|8.||Kevin Magnussen||Haas F1 Team VF-19||1:12.270||+ 1.005||25|
|9.||Kimi Räikkönen||Alfa Romeo Racing C38||1:12.308||+ 1.043||27|
|10.||Alexander Albon||Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda STR14||1:12.338||+ 1.073||32|
|11.||Nico Hülkenberg||Renault F1 Team RS19||1:12.489||+ 1.224||26|
|12.||Daniel Ricciardo||Renault F1 Team RS19||1:12.519||+ 1.254||26|
|13.||Romain Grosjean||Haas F1 Team VF-19||1:12.566||+ 1.301||27|
|14.||Sebastian Vettel||Scuderia Ferrari SF90||1:12.583||+ 1.318||7|
|15.||Carlos Sainz Jr.||McLaren F1 Team MCL34||1:12.862||+ 1.597||29|
|16.||Lando Norris||McLaren F1 Team MCL34||1:12.914||+ 1.649||26|
|17.||Sergio Pérez||Racing Point F1 Team RP19||1:13.232||+ 1.967||23|
|18.||Lance Stroll||Racing Point F1 Team RP19||1:13.622||+ 2.357||21|
|19.||Robert Kubica||ROKiT Williams Racing FW42||1:14.086||+ 2.821||27|
|20.||George Russell||ROKiT Williams Racing FW42||1:14.305||+ 3.040||27|
Image via Scuderia Ferrari