Perez beats Leclerc in the last training session


Perez beats Leclerc in the last training session

With less than three minutes on the clock, Leclerc relegated Perez to second, but the Mexican reacted in the closing seconds to top the field with a lap of 1:12.476s, 0.041s quicker than Leclerc.

Williams’ Nicholas Latifi and Alpine’s Fernando Alonso set the first lap times in the third and final practice session of Formula 1 on the principality’s sunny roads.

They were soon joined by McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo, who was trying to get the best out of FP3 after missing most of Friday’s FP2 after slipping on his first lap in the swimming pool section.

But all eyes were on pre-event favorite Leclerc, who came out on softs after eight minutes and took an early lead from teammate Carlos Sainz with a performance of 1’14.008s.

Red Bull’s first laps were four tenths off the pace of his title rivals, with Max Verstappen briefly third ahead of Perez with Alonso fifth earlier.

Leclerc’s second attempt was even faster, lowering the benchmark to 1m 13.647s. A cycle began of Ferrari and Red Bull exchanging shots on Pirelli’s softest compound as track development continued to bring times down, with Perez and Leclerc even posting an identical time of 1m13.297s.

By the 30-minute mark, Leclerc was back in the lead with a 1m12.885s, two tenths off his best time in FP2.

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari F1-75

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari F1-75

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Meanwhile, McLaren’s Lando Norris briefly recaptured his best remaining spot of fifth, which he’d held all Friday, only to lose it to AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly before the half.

Mercedes struggled for pace early on, with George Russell and Lewis Hamilton falling behind in seventh and tenth respectively as Hamilton seemed confused by the 1.2 second gap he was facing.

Sainz continued straight ahead at Ste Devote while attempting to level Sainz on the Monegasque’s home track, which also happened to Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll.

During a mid-session pause with just over 20 minutes to go, Norris found a clear stretch to finish third, which was soon surpassed again by Gasly, suggesting the top teams were still finding lap time in the final third had to.

They duly did so, with Leclerc and Perez swapping first position until finally Perez secured the session lead before the checkered flag.

Sainz was third over three tenths behind Perez and half a tenth ahead of Verstappen, who had seen one of his push laps ruined by traffic.

Gasly continued to hold off Norris in fifth and Hamilton finally found some pace to claim seventh, albeit still nine tenths off the leaders.

Kevin Magnussen was a strong eighth in the Haas that still hasn’t received a significant improvement.

Russell and Alonso completed the top 10, followed by Yuki Tsunoda, the second Haas to Mick Schumacher and Vettel.

George Russell, Mercedes W13

George Russell, Mercedes W13

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Valtteri Bottas continued a difficult weekend for Alfa Romeo in 14th, just ahead of Alex Albon in the first Williams car.

Ricciardo was only able to manage 16th after losing track time, while Alpine’s Esteban Ocon was 17th after a difficult session.

Stroll finished 18th for Aston Martin while Zhou Guanyu and Latifi supported the timesheets in 19th and 20th respectively.

Traffic continued to be a problem with Verstappen being obstructed by Zhou, which is being investigated by FIA race stewards, and Vettel was furious over close contact with Sainz, while Sainz was called to the stewards over a separate incident involving Stroll.

There was also an incident between Perez and Russell for which the Mexican was summoned by the stewards.

Vettel’s teammate Stroll crashed into the wall at the exit of the pool section after taking too many curbs and damaged his front wing in an otherwise clean session.

Monaco F1 Grand Prix – FP3 Results

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