After a rare Friday off, teams and drivers returned to the Circuit de Monaco for one last practice ahead of arguably the most important Qualifying session of the year.
FP1 on Thursday saw Sergio Perez land at the top of the early timesheets in Monaco, after an impressive stint in his RB16B – a welcomed early result for the Mexican driver after a tough Spanish Grand Prix.
Later the same day, Ferrari landed atop the FP2 timesheet with Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz in first and second ahead of the title-challenging Mercedes and Red Bull cars.
After this morning’s run, Verstappen drove the fastest lap, meaning he has now topped every P3 session so far this season.
The Ferrari duo of Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc were in P1 and P3 respectively after Sainz’s fastest lap in 1:11.452s at the halfway mark this morning.
They were split temporarily by the Red Bull of Max Verstappen, who was .033s off the fastest Ferrari – all on soft tyres.
Mercedes’ Hamilton was in fourth and .568s off the pace, while the second Mercedes of Bottas was in fifth.
With 17 minutes to go, Nicholas Latifi crashed at the swimming pool chicane, summoning the first red flag.
He hit the barrier on entry and was pushed wide, causing major damage to the right-hand side of his Williams.
With 11 minutes remaining on the clock, cars returned to the track and Mercedes were still trying to catch up with the top three this morning – Hamilton continued to meet traffic during his efforts.
The session then came to a close with just 3 minutes left after Mick Schumacher in the Haas crashed into the barrier at Casino Square, bringing the session to a close and leaving a question mark over whether the 22-year-old’s VF-21 will be fit for Qualifying later today.
That left Verstappen fastest overall this morning followed by the two Ferraris – Sainz in P2 and Leclerc in P3 – followed by Bottas in fourth, 0.471s off the pace.
The second Red Bull of Perez was in 5th followed by McLaren’s Norris in 6th and Mercedes’ Hamilton in 7th.
Closing out the top ten this morning was Kimi Raikkonen, Pierre Gasly, and Sebastian Vettel in P8, P9, and P10 respectively.
With all eyes on Ferrari, this afternoon’s Qualifying session will prove whether Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz can fight for pole position.
Qualifying kicks off at 2:00 pm this afternoon.