Monaco FP3: Sergio Perez ends Charles Leclerc's hat-trick chances with a late run

Sergio Perez put paid to Charles Leclerc’s practice hat-trick at home, pipping the Ferrari driver in the final minute of FP3 to finish quickest of all.

Red Bull and Ferrari resumed their battle in Saturday’s third practice for the Monaco Grand Prix, where Perez was again the faster of the two Red Bull drivers.

He took the fight to Leclerc, the two trading P1s late in the session with Perez coming out on top with a 1:12.476. Leclerc was 0.041s down.

Carlos Sainz was third, ahead of Max Verstappen and Pierre Gasly.

FP3 – Top 3 😊#MonacoGP pic.twitter.com/yS5VEkaeKi

— tami. (@Vetteleclerc) May 28, 2022

After his crash at the Swimming Pool chicane in second practice, Daniel Ricciardo was one of the first out on track as he put in a lap in his newly-repaired MCL36. McLaren broke curfew on Friday night to fix the car, the team revealing they did not need to change his chassis.

He was out on the soft Pirellis, the driver going third on his first flying lap as he lined up behind Fernando Alonso, a 1:14.757 for the Alpine driver, and Valtteri Bottas. Only five drivers set times in the opening 10 minutes.

And then the Ferraris and Red Bull came out to play…

Friday’s pace-setter Leclerc went quickest with a 1:14.008 before shaving that down to a 1:13.647 and then a 1:13.434 as he seemed able to ride the kerbs better than his rivals. Verstappen was up to P2 but a quarter of a second down on his title rival as it was evident his RB18 was not handling quite as well.

As they upped their pace, Leclerc’s improvements followed by Verstappen’s, their team-mates battled over third place with Sainz holding the early advantage. That was until Perez went quickest of all.

The Mexican driver laid down a 1:13.297 with Leclerc clocking the exact same time but having to sit second on the timesheets as Perez did it first. Verstappen also found some pace but it was only enough for third.

Leclerc 📻 "Something weird is happening into Turn 1"

📻 "Yeah, I don't know there is some vibrations at the front"

Not the Monaco curse already appearing 🙃#MonacoGP #F1

— Motorsport.com (@Motorsport) May 28, 2022

Behind them, Lando Norris asked McLaren to check “the steering – I just clipped the wall”. Lewis Hamilton almost bounced his way into the wall at Turn 15 and Lance Stroll went on at St. Devote. He was also being investigated by the stewards for impeding Esteban Ocon.

Hamilton, sitting ninth, told Mercedes he does not know “where” to find the 1.2s deficit he had to Perez. Make that 1.6s to Leclerc, the local lad back on top on his 13-lap-old soft tyres. His team-mate Sainz went straight on at Turn 1. Both Hamilton and George Russell returned to their respective garages for some set-up changes.

Still the work goes on @MercedesAMGF1 #F1 pic.twitter.com/N5qx3m6913

— Jennie Gow (@JennieGow) May 28, 2022

The final 20 minutes saw “a lot of traffic”, as Hamilton put it. Verstappen was impeded by Zhou Guanyu, the stewards investigating that, while Sebastian Vettel had a moment with Sainz he called “scary”, no investigation said the stewards. Russell had a “crikey” moment with Perez, adding he “almost crashed into the back of him” and Stroll clipped the wall and ‘pitted’ with a damaged wing.

FP3 ended with Perez quickest on a 1:12.476 but he was only marginally ahead of Leclerc, the Ferrari driver 0.041s off the pace. Sainz was third ahead of Verstappen, Gasly and Norris.

Hamilton was the best-placed Mercedes driver in seventh place ahead of Kevin Magnussen, Russell and Alonso.

 

Times

1 Sergio Perez Red Bull 1:12.476 27 laps
2 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 0.041s 29 laps
3 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 0.370s 28 laps
4 Max Verstappen Red Bull 0.405s 29 laps
5 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri 0.734s 22 laps
6 Lando Norris McLaren 0.750s 19 laps
7 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 0.899s 26 laps
8 Kevin Magnussen Haas 0.960s 24 laps
9 George Russell Mercedes 1.000s 26 laps
10 Fernando Alonso Alpine 1.109s 23 laps
11 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri 1.169s 25 laps
12 Mick Schumacher Haas 1.351s 26 laps
13 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin 1.362s 28 laps
14 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo Racing 1.373s 25 laps
15 Alex Albon Williams 1.406s 22 laps
16 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren 1.628s 29 laps
17 Esteban Ocon Alpine 1.784s 22 laps
18 Lance Stroll Aston Martin 2.163s 20 laps
19 Guanyu Zhou Alfa Romeo Racing 2.385s 25 laps
20 Nicholas Latifi Williams 2.434s 26 laps

 

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