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Verstappen quickest in final practice ahead of Italian Grand Prix

The Red Bull driver was a healthy margin clear of Charles Leclerc in second place.

Max Verstappen posted the quickest time in the third and final practice session ahead of Qualifying for the Formula 1 Italian Grand Prix. The World Champion was top of the time sheets for nearly the whole 60 minute session at Monza from the initial runs to the Qualifying simulations at the end. In the first segment of the session, Verstappen posted a 1m:21.872s on the Medium Pirellis, narrowly edging out Charles Leclerc by just 0.072s. However, as the field then bolted on the Softs, Verstappen improved by 0.6s to post a 1m:21.252s effort which proved unbeatable. Leclerc went second but was 0.353s slower on his first effort, but a second attempt was a marginal improvement by just 0.006s to give a final cushion of 0.347s in the Red Bull driver's favour.

Red Bull and Ferrari over one second clear

Verstappen and Leclerc's two teammates Sergio Perez and Carlos Sainz Jr were the only other two drivers within one second of the leading time. Perez edged ahead of Sainz with a 1m:21.848s effort to leave him 0.596s slower than Verstappen, with the second Ferrari about half a tenth slower, with Sainz set to take further engine grid penalties on top of those he had already incurred. Fernando Alonso was best of the rest in fifth place, 1.054s slower than the ultimate pace in the lead Alpine. If that order was repeated in qualifying, Alonso would start second as Verstappen, Perez and Sainz will all drop places. Both Lando Norris and George Russell were within a tenth of Alonso's 1m:22.306s effort, as a late flyer from Yuki Tsunoda put him in eighth place, just ahead of Esteban Ocon. Lewis Hamilton was 10th for Mercedes, some 1.315s as he focused on race pace simulations for a majority of the session.

de Vries shows well on debut

Zhou Guanyu and Pierre Gasly were just outside the top 10, as Nicholas Latifi beat new Williams teammate Nyck de Vries. Regular Alex Albon is out through appendicitis with de Vries drafted in as a late replacement. The Dutch driver had an off at the Lesmo corners, but a 1m:22.869s effort was good enough for 14th place, less than a tenth behind Latifi. Daniel Ricciardo and Valtteri Bottas were 15th and 16th, comprehensively out-performed by their teammates, with the Aston Martins and Haas cars bringing up the rear. Sebastian Vettel was 17th, nearly half a second faster than Lance Stroll in 20th, as Aston continued to trial rear wings. Kevin Magnussen was 18th, with Mick Schumacher 19th - having missed 50 minutes of the session. A clutch replacement was necessary for the German, restricting him to just eight laps, but ended two-tenths slower than Magnussen.

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