Max Verstappen, after finishing yesterday in first position, also takes the fastest lap in Monaco’s FP3 session: the Dutchman and Red Bull seem to be one step ahead of everyone on the streets of the Principality. Alonso was not too far away in the first part of the session – when the Spaniard was able to complete a hot lap.
Stroll’s third position is a good sign for the Silverstone team, but the less than two-tenth gap to the Red Bulls was helped by track evolution.
Ferrari sinks after a positive day yesterday. The SF23 bounces a lot in the higher speed sections and loses a lot in the first and third sectors, where the stability of the car and the feeling of the drivers count. The rest of the grid remains almost intact compared to yesterday’s second free practice, and Q2, in particular, could prove to be interesting.
FP3 Monaco: Red Bull and Aston still strong, Ferrari lost pace overnight
Red Bull confirms the great speed and stability shown yesterday from the first moments, even with Sergio Perez, the protagonist of the most difficult Friday of the year, on his side of the garage.
The RB19 is always very strong in the first and third sectors of the track, sections in which it gains the most time compared to its rivals. Fernando Alonso will need a practically perfect Qualifying session to challenge even one of the two Red Bulls for the front row: the AMR23 is very fast, but for now, it may not be enough to fight for Pole Position.
Ferrari, on the other hand, has lost all the speed and qualities shown in the first two free practice sessions: the SF23 constantly loses 2 tenths in the first and third sector, and also marginally in the second sector where yesterday it had no equal thanks to a good speed in curves at very low speed.
Today the Scuderia struggled greatly tackling the high-speed stretches of the Massenet and Piscine, and the mechanics were forced to change the set-up of the two cars during the session.
Based on the drivers’ feedback in the last minutes of the session, even this path seems to be the wrong one.
Further back, we still find Norris’ McLaren, the Alpines and the Mercedes quite close to each other in a similar situation to yesterday. A
Alfa Romeo, Haas, Alpha Tauri and Williams are also all in positions quite similar to those seen at the end of Friday. If the times seen in FP3 are reliable, the battle for Pole in Monaco could be quite one-soded.
Mercedes didn’t expect an easy weekend, the introduction of such a revolutionized car proves it, and towards the end of the session Lewis Hamilton, after setting the fastest time of the session in the first sector, went wide at the Mirabeau slightly damaging the front suspension and calling into question the only red flag of the session.
A few minutes into the session, Esteban Ocon’s Alpine stalled due to a loss of power; the French driver was able to bring his A523 back to the pits without causing a red flag.
At the end of the session, Kevin Magnussen stopped before the Portier corner due to a technical problem on his VF23, calling into question a Virtual Safety Car.
Author: Andrea Vergani
Translation: Jaden Diaz-Ndisang