Carlos Sainz Jr, Ferrari, Monza, 2023

Sainz puts Ferrari on top ahead of qualifying but warned over Piastri clash

2023 Italian Grand Prix third practice

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Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz Jnr set the pace in final practice for the Italian Grand Prix but was warned over an incident with McLaren’s Oscar Piastri.

Sainz set the best time of the weekend so far with a 1’20.912, just under a tenth of a second quicker than Max Verstappen with Lewis Hamilton third. However, Sainz was shown a black-and-white warning flag by the stewards after making slight contact with Piastri at the Rettifilo chicane while on a cooldown lap.

Drivers were once again treated to a dry track and clear conditions as the final hour of practice began. Lance Stroll, who had been unable to set a single lap time on Friday, was quick to get out onto the track for his first laps of the weekend.

After all drivers had worked to limit their tyre usage during the opening two practice sessions, the majority of the field fitted the soft compound for their first extended runs on the theoretically fastest tyre of the weekend.

Sergio Perez set the early benchmark with a 1’22.662, until he was beaten by a tenth-and-a-half by Lando Norris in the McLaren. Verstappen was one of the last drivers out on the track to complete their first flying laps, but he immediately went quickest of all with a 1’21.838. After a pair of cooldown laps, Verstappen improved by over a tenth to go half a second clear at the top of the times ahead of team mate Perez, who had also improved to second.

After an initial rush of drivers setting fast push laps, teams quickly turned their focus to higher fuel runs with Sunday in mind. However, Alexander Albon put his Williams into second place on the medium tyres, four tenths slower than Verstappen’s best.

Traffic remained a concern. Norris caught up to Zhou Guanyu in between the two Lesmos and avoided the Alfa Romeo by driving along the kerb between the two corners. Zhou was shown the black-and-white warning flag for the incident.

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Meanwhile Norris’s team mate Oscar Piastri had a trip across the gravel on the exit of the Roggia chicane. The McLaren drivers ended the session towards the bottom of the times.

Hamilton took a new set of soft tyres with around 15 minutes remaining of the session and posted the fastest time of the weekend up to that point with a 1’21.453.But that was soon beaten comfortably by Verstappen, who broke the 1’21 barrier to go almost half a second clear at the top.

In the final ten minutes, Sainz returned Ferrari to the top of the times with a fresh set of soft tyres to go 0.086s faster than Verstappen. However, he was involved in an incident with Piastri at the Rettifilo chicane.

The Ferrari driver appeared not to realise the McLaren was behind him on a flying lap and turned into the left-hand part of the chicane with Piastri alongside. The pair made minor contact and Piastri called for Sainz to be penalised for the contact, but the stewards instead showed him a black-and-white warning flag.

The final minutes of the session completed without any further improvements, leaving Sainz as the quickest driver for the second straight session. Verstappen was less than a tenth slower in second place, with Hamilton third fastest for Mercedes.

Charles Leclerc was fourth in the second Ferrari, ahead of Fernanodo Alonso, George Russell and the two Haas cars of Kevin Magnussen and Nico Hulkenberg seventh and eighth, respectively. Albon was ninth with Perez completing the top ten in tenth, having set out the last third of the session with a suspected fuel leak.

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2023 Italian Grand Prix third practice result

155Carlos Sainz JnrFerrariSF-231’20.91222
21Max VerstappenRed Bull-Honda RBPTRB191’20.9980.08623
344Lewis HamiltonMercedesW141’21.4530.54122
416Charles LeclercFerrariSF-231’21.4860.57422
514Fernando AlonsoAston Martin-MercedesAMR231’21.7110.79924
663George RussellMercedesW141’21.7300.81824
720Kevin MagnussenHaas-FerrariVF-231’21.8840.97221
827Nico HulkenbergHaas-FerrariVF-231’21.9851.07327
923Alexander AlbonWilliams-MercedesFW451’22.0541.14217
1011Sergio PerezRed Bull-Honda RBPTRB191’22.1921.28016
1118Lance StrollAston Martin-MercedesAMR231’22.2451.33331
1240Liam LawsonAlphaTauri-Honda RBPTAT041’22.2961.38428
1322Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauri-Honda RBPTAT041’22.2971.38527
1481Oscar PiastriMcLaren-MercedesMCL601’22.3021.39017
152Logan SargeantWilliams-MercedesFW451’22.3801.46822
1677Valtteri BottasAlfa Romeo-FerrariC431’22.5111.59929
174Lando NorrisMcLaren-MercedesMCL601’22.5151.60323
1831Esteban OconAlpine-RenaultA5231’22.7391.82719
1924Zhou GuanyuAlfa Romeo-FerrariC431’22.7421.83029
2010Pierre GaslyAlpine-RenaultA5231’22.8521.94021

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2023 Italian Grand Prix combined practice times

PositionNumberDriverTeamFP1 timeFP2 timeFP3 timeGapLaps
155Carlos Sainz JnrFerrari1’22.7031’21.3551’20.9121
21Max VerstappenRed Bull-Honda RBPT1’22.6571’21.6311’20.9980.0865
34Lando NorrisMcLaren-Mercedes1’23.2411’21.3741’22.5150.4622
444Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’23.2691’22.7831’21.4530.54117
516Charles LeclercFerrari1’22.9661’21.7161’21.4860.5746
611Sergio PerezRed Bull-Honda RBPT1’22.8341’21.5401’22.1920.6283
781Oscar PiastriMcLaren-Mercedes1’23.4461’21.5451’22.3020.6334
814Fernando AlonsoAston Martin-Mercedes1’23.2141’22.0711’21.7110.7998
963George RussellMercedes1’23.1891’22.1761’21.7300.8189
1020Kevin MagnussenHaas-Ferrari1’24.2171’22.5741’21.8840.97211
1123Alexander AlbonWilliams-Mercedes1’23.4441’21.9791’22.0541.0677
1227Nico HulkenbergHaas-Ferrari1’24.0671’22.2911’21.9851.07310
1318Lance StrollAston Martin-MercedesNo time1’22.2451.333
1440Liam LawsonAlphaTauri-Honda RBPT1’23.8331’23.1671’22.2961.38418
1522Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauri-Honda RBPT1’23.2711’22.6961’22.2971.38514
162Logan SargeantWilliams-Mercedes1’23.6611’22.7551’22.3801.46816
1777Valtteri BottasAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’23.9521’22.5951’22.5111.59912
1810Pierre GaslyAlpine-Renault1’23.9311’22.6511’22.8521.73913
1931Esteban OconAlpine-Renault1’24.0901’22.7161’22.7391.80415
2024Zhou GuanyuAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’24.2321’23.3461’22.7421.83019
2134Felipe DrugovichAston Martin-Mercedes1’24.1403.22820

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2023 Italian Grand Prix

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Author information

Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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3 comments on “Sainz puts Ferrari on top ahead of qualifying but warned over Piastri clash”

  1. Yuki’s radio rants are funny once again & Carlos again manages to block Oscar.
    Black-&-white flag use in a practice session is extremely rare, though.

  2. Piastri called for Sainz to be penalised

    Football has the right idea with its Dissent rules; let the referees/stewards do their job. Don’t moan to get others penalized; that’s not your job.

    That said, Ferrari has way too many of these incidents. Its pitwall is not doing a good enough job to inform the drivers.

    1. The problem is stewards in f1 too often let things go unless they’re reported, you can’t let them do their job cause they don’t do it, I’ve seen countless times stuff being reported and then “oh, this is indeed penalty worthy”, just think about austria and the track limits this year.

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