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Formula 1

Leclerc's pole to lose? All you need to know from Monaco FP3

by Edd Straw
3 min read

Charles Leclerc cemented his status as favourite for Monaco Grand Prix pole position by topping the final free practice session on his home streets.

Leclerc hit the top of the timesheets on his first set of softs, with an advantage of three tenths of a second over Ferrari team-mate Carlos Sainz.

He then improved on that when he switched to his second set, banging in a 1m11.369s lap with 15 minutes remaining that stood as the fastest time of the session.

However, although Sainz improved when he bolted on fresh softs he ended up 0.610s slower than Leclerc and subsequently failed to improve on what should have been a quicker lap thanks to traffic. That left him down in seventh place, opening the door for Max Verstappen to slot into second place.

Despite still struggling with the ride of his Red Bull, Verstappen set a best lap 0.197s slower than Leclerc’s fastest. That included the best time of all in the first sector, although he gave away almost three tenths to Leclerc’s quickest in the long middle sector.

Lewis Hamilton built on a promising Friday for Mercedes with the third-fastest time, 0.341s off the pace, putting him two tenths ahead of the lead McLaren of Oscar Piastri. Both Hamilton and Piastri had trips up the Ste Devote escape road earlier in the session, but recovered without problems.

Sergio Perez, who reported “we have a lot of work to do, the car is nowhere” over the radio at the end of the session, and George Russell completed the top six, with McLaren driver Lando Norris completing the top eight after lapping nine-thousandths slower than Sainz.

Norris complained about Russell going slowly approaching the chicane, triggering a stewards’ investigation.

Fernando Alonso featured well up the timesheets for much of the session, but ended up being shuffled down to 10th behind RB’s Yuki Tsunoda.

Pierre Gasly was 11th fastest ahead of Alex Albon and Nico Hulkenberg with Alpine, Williams and Haas in a tightly-packed group on the fringes of the top 10.

Sauber had a tough session, with Zhou Guanyu down in 19th place and 2.461s off the pace.

Valtteri Bottas did not set a time after hitting the kerb in the second part of the chicane exiting the swimming pool and brushing the wall early in the session.

He then stopped at Rascasse with damage to the front-right corner, bringing out the red flag.

FP3 times

PosNameCarBest TimeGap Leader
1Charles LeclercFerrari1m11.369s
2Max VerstappenRed Bull-Honda RBPT1m11.566s+0.197s
3Lewis HamiltonMercedes1m11.710s+0.341s
4Oscar PiastriMcLaren-Mercedes1m11.901s+0.532s
5Sergio PérezRed Bull-Honda RBPT1m11.923s+0.554s
6George RussellMercedes1m11.968s+0.599s
7Carlos SainzFerrari1m11.979s+0.610s
8Lando NorrisMcLaren-Mercedes1m11.988s+0.619s
9Yuki TsunodaRed Bull-Honda RBPT1m11.991s+0.622s
10Fernando AlonsoAston Martin-Mercedes1m12.087s+0.718s
11Pierre GaslyAlpine-Renault1m12.144s+0.775s
12Alex AlbonWilliams-Mercedes1m12.180s+0.811s
13Nico HülkenbergHaas-Ferrari1m12.192s+0.823s
14Kevin MagnussenHaas-Ferrari1m12.216s+0.847s
15Lance StrollAston Martin-Mercedes1m12.331s+0.962s
16Esteban OconAlpine-Renault1m12.472s+1.103s
17Logan SargeantWilliams-Mercedes1m12.703s+1.334s
18Daniel RicciardoRB-Honda RBPT1m12.829s+1.460s
19Guanyu ZhouSauber-Ferrari1m13.830s+2.461s
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