Event: Italian Grand Prix
Track: Monza Circuit

Weather: dry  27°C
Tarmac: dry  42°C
Humidity : 46%
Wind : 1.0 km/h SE
Pressure: 1000 mbar

Sainz Tops FP3 as Qualifying Looms: Tight Battle Expected for Italian F1 GP Pole

The Autodromo Nazionale Monza witnessed a sun-soaked FP3 session ahead of the 2023 Italian Formula 1 Grand Prix. The weather was a stark contrast to the wet conditions experienced in recent races, allowing teams to gather crucial data for the upcoming qualifying session.

Sergio Perez, unfortunately, found himself in the gravel after a minor snap that sent his RB19 spinning into the barriers. Lance Stroll also faced challenges, missing FP1 and encountering fuel system issues in FP2. Consequently, he heads into qualifying with no timed laps, a situation that might pose difficulties for the Canadian driver.

The weekend's intricacies stem from the implementation of Pirelli's 'Alternative Tyre Allocation' for the second time this season. Drivers are mandated to use hard, medium, and soft compound tires in Q1, Q2, and Q3, respectively. This variation led to diverse strategies during practice sessions, with drivers aiming to comprehend the behavior of all three compounds.

Ferrari, backed by their home crowd, seemed unfazed by the pressure. Carlos Sainz displayed impressive pace throughout both practice sessions, raising hopes for a strong performance in qualifying. Teammate Charles Leclerc, although slightly behind Sainz, conveyed determination to rectify his errors from yesterday's runs.

Max Verstappen, chasing his tenth consecutive victory, aims to create history. Monza, statistically favoring pole sitters, could play a pivotal role in his pursuit. The track's layout traditionally facilitates overtaking, making the pole position even more critical.

As FP3 commenced, teams rolled out with varied tire choices. Bottas, Stroll, and Hulkenberg spearheaded the initial runs. Notably, the tow, a powerful aerodynamic advantage on Monza's straights, gained prominence. Some teams, including Red Bull, practiced this technique during FP2.

Mercedes' performance drew attention as Hamilton refrained from using soft tires in FP2. He swiftly ventured onto softs in FP3, alongside Russell. Meanwhile, the teams' tire allocations were reduced to 11 sets for the weekend, prompting drivers to manage their resources strategically.

Alpine's Ocon simulated a qualifying run on fresh soft tires, leaving observers eager to gauge their true competitiveness. Williams, a surprise performer, demonstrated impressive pace, hinting at an intriguing qualifying session.

The session, characterized by low downforce setups, challenged drivers to maintain stability through Monza's corners. Turn 1 and the Turn 9-10 chicane emerged as critical points demanding precision from the drivers.

As the session unfolded, Verstappen asserted his dominance, clocking a 1:21.687 lap time. Traffic remained a concern, prompting officials to impose a maximum lap time to prevent unnecessary slow driving.

Halfway the session the top 10 order was: 1. Max Verstappen - 1.21.687 (S), 2. Segio Pérez +0.505 (S), 3. Kevin Magnussen +0.571 (S), 4. Lewis Hamilton +0.592 (S), 5. Carlos Sainz +0.728 (S), 6. Lando Norris +0.828 (S), 7. Oscar Piastri +0.930 (S) 8. Fernando Alonso +1.003 (S), 9. George Russell +1.011 (S) & 10. Charles Leclerc +1.024 (S).

The incident between Sainz and Piastri triggered stewards' attention. Sainz received a black and white flag for a move that squeezed Piastri off the racing line.

In the final moments, Ferrari exhibited exceptional pace, with Sainz and Leclerc topping the timesheets momentarily. Sainz eventually secured the fastest time, leaving spectators eager for a fierce battle between Ferrari and Red Bull in qualifying.

With qualifying poised to be an intense session marked by traffic, tire strategies, and yellow flags, fans are in for an exciting Italian Grand Prix weekend. Qualifying is scheduled to begin at 16:00 local time (14:00 UTC), promising an enthralling contest for pole position.

The best sector times were:

  1. 26.787 sec. by Charles Leclerc with the Ferrari SF23
  2. 27.215 sec. by Carlos Sainz with the Ferrari SF23
  3. 26.681 sec. by Max Verstappen with the Red Bull RB18

The quickest lap time of last year's FP3 was a 1:21,252 min, set by Max Verstappen with the Red Bull RB18 on a set of soft compound tyres.

FP3 Times Table 2023 Italian GP

PNoDriverTeamTime1st GapLapsTyres
155Carlos SainzFerrari1:20,91223????S
21Max VerstappenRed Bull1:20,998+0,086s23????S
344Lewis HamiltonMercedes1:21,453+0,541s23????S
416Charles LeclercFerrari1:21,486+0,574s23????S
514Fernando AlonsoAston Martin1:21,711+0,799s24????S
663George RussellMercedes1:21,730+0,818s25????S
720Kevin MagnussenHaas1:21,884+0,972s21????S
827Nico HülkenbergHaas1:21,985+1,073s27????S
923Alex AlbonWilliams1:22,054+1,142s18⚪H
1011Sergio PérezRed Bull1:22,192+1,280s16????S
1118Lance StrollAston Martin1:22,245+1,333s31????S
1240Liam LawsonAlphaTauri1:22,296+1,384s29????M
1322Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauri1:22,297+1,385s28????M
1481Oscar PiastriMcLaren1:22,302+1,390s17????M
152Logan SargeantWilliams1:22,380+1,468s23⚪H
1677Valtteri BottasAlfa Romeo1:22,511+1,599s30⚪H
174Lando NorrisMcLaren1:22,515+1,603s24????S
1831Esteban OconAlpine1:22,739+1,827s20⚪H
1924Zhou GuanyuAlfa Romeo1:22,742+1,830s30⚪H
2010Pierre GaslyAlpine1:22,852+1,940s22????S

✅ Don't forget to check out our 2023 Italian F1 Grand Prix preview info.

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