Max Verstappen led Red Bull team mate Sergio Perez in final practice for the Monaco Grand Prix as Lewis Hamilton crashed his Mercedes in the final minutes.Lance Stroll third for Aston Martin. Hamilton crashed into the barriers at Mirabeau in the final minutes, striking the barrier with his W14’s front-left wheel.
With just a single hour of practice before the most crucial qualifying session of the season, the third and final practice session was teams’ final chase to tune their cars. Despite that, there was not a particular rush of cars out onto the circuit – save for the Aston Martin drivers of Stroll and Fernando Alonso heading out to scrub sets of medium tyres.
Eventually the Red Bull of Perez and the Alpine pair of Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly took to the track on soft tyres, with Perez completing the first timed lap of the day – a 1’15.641. Ocon briefly came to a halt in the middle of the tunnel, complaining of a loss of power on his car. He managed to get the car going again and recover to the pits without any need to stop the session.
More cars began to trickle out onto the circuit, including the two Ferraris of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz Jnr on soft tyres. Sainz was the quicker of the pair on their first flying laps, with Stroll and Valtteri Bottas splitting the two Ferraris. Perez improved to go under the 1’15 mark for the first time, before Lando Norris moved to the top of the times with a 1’14.905.
Perez shaved six tenths off his personal best time to retake the top spot, but that was easily beaten by Verstappen who posted a 1’13.794 on his first flying lap of the day to go instantly to the top of the times. That was until Alonso replaced him with a lap almost a tenth of a second quicker than the Red Bull driver, but still comfortably slower than the ultimate pace from Friday.
The two Red Bulls retook the top two positions with Verstappen lowering his time to a 1’13.583 – just four-thousandths of a second quicker than his team mate. Sainz moved to third with team mate Leclerc improving to fourth, despite the hometown driver complaining of having “no control” over his car.
Around half an hour into the session, teams began to bring their cars back into the garages to prepare for their qualifying simulation runs towards the end of the hour. Eventually the track became busy once more with around 15 minutes remaining. Despite heading out on fresh soft tyres, most of those at the top of the times struggled to find any time improvement.
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Further flying laps were ruined when Kevin Magnussen went off into the run off at Sainte Devote, bringing out the yellow flags. Despite recovering out of the run off, Magnussen eventually stopped his Haas on track on the approach to Portier, bringing out a Virtual Safety Car as the marshals removed his stricken car.
The green flags flew once the car was cleared, but with only five minutes remaining Hamilton locked up on the way into Mirabeau while passing Alexander Albon’s Williams, and crashed into the outside barrier. The session was red-flagged with Hamilton’s Mercedes stranded on the circuit and with only a handful of minutes remaining, the session was not resumed.
That ensured Verstappen would end practice fastest for the second consecutive session with team mate Perez less than a tenth behind. Stroll was third for Aston Martin ahead of Sainz, Norris and Gasly. Leclerc was seventh in the second Ferrari with Hamilton eighth despite crashing. Ocon and Bottas completed the top ten.
2023 Monaco Grand Prix third practice result
|1||1||Max Verstappen||Red Bull-Honda RBPT||RB19||1’12.776||19|
|2||11||Sergio Perez||Red Bull-Honda RBPT||RB19||1’12.849||0.073||24|
|3||18||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin-Mercedes||AMR23||1’12.942||0.166||20|
|4||55||Carlos Sainz Jnr||Ferrari||SF-23||1’13.261||0.485||20|
|10||77||Valtteri Bottas||Alfa Romeo-Ferrari||C43||1’13.521||0.745||20|
|14||14||Fernando Alonso||Aston Martin-Mercedes||AMR23||1’13.697||0.921||18|
|15||22||Yuki Tsunoda||AlphaTauri-Honda RBPT||AT04||1’13.738||0.962||21|
|16||24||Zhou Guanyu||Alfa Romeo-Ferrari||C43||1’13.772||0.996||20|
|20||21||Nyck de Vries||AlphaTauri-Honda RBPT||AT04||1’14.187||1.411||24|
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