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Monaco Grand Prix: Charles Leclerc lays down marker in Practice Three with

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Charles Leclerc continued his promising start to the Monaco Grand Prix weekend by again setting the fastest time in the final practice session ahead of Qualifying on Saturday.

The session was briefly interrupted due to a red flag caused by Valtteri Bottas damaging his right front suspension after clipping the wall and then blocking the track at Rascasse, with the accident ending the Sauber driver’s participation in the session as well.

When Practice Three resumed though, it was Friday’s fastest driver Leclerc who was soon at the top of the timesheet again, with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen once more struggling to match the Ferrari man’s pace after repeatedly losing time in the second and third sectors of the lap.

The 26-year-old, who is aiming to win his home race for the first time, put in a best lap of 1:11.369 and will be aiming to replicate that showing in Qualifying later today, live on Sky Sports F1. Reigning world champion Verstappen, meanwhile, closed to within 0.197 seconds of him in the closing stages of the session.

Elsewhere, Lewis Hamilton’s encouraging weekend continued as he put in the third-fastest time of the session, dipping under the 1min 12sec mark after a slow start to Practice Three, with Mercedes team-mate George Russell in sixth, sandwiching the McLaren of Oscar Piastri and Red Bull’s Sergio Perez.

Bottas crash causes chaotic start to session

Russell and the McLaren duo of Norris and Piastri were among the early runners on track, with the Mercedes racer reporting much improved steering from Friday’s two practice sessions, where he suffered front-end vibrations, on that brief outing.

Following a delay of around four minutes for the red flag while Bottas’ stricken car was removed from the circuit, there was a mad dash from the pits for the rest of the field to get out on the circuit, with Verstappen and Kevin Magnussen among the drivers frustrated by heavy traffic at parts of the track.

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An infuritated Max Verstappen gets caught up in traffic during Monaco Grand Prix P3

Leclerc was able to navigate those issues though and consistently put in times in the 1min 12sec range and became the first driver to dip under that mark in Practice Three with around 20 minutes remaining.

Once again no-one else was able to match his pace and he was eventually able to better that time in what proved a frantic end to the session as nearly all of the drivers returned to the track in an effort to put in the best laps before Qualfying later in the afternoon.

Verstappen still off Leclerc’s pace, Hamilton keeps in touch

Verstappen had written off Red Bull’s hopes of catching Ferrari after a difficult Friday for the team, believing the vibration problems the RB20 had suffered around Monaco in the opening two sessions were not ones which could be solved by set-up changes alone.

He did at least manage to set a time that was within touching distance of Leclerc, clocking a best lap of 1:11.566 despite the track getting crowded again in the final 10 minutes, but knows the team will need to find more improvement from somewhere if they are to overhaul Ferrari in Qualifying.

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Lando Norris voices his frustration after a close call with George Russell exiting the tunnel during P3 at the Monaco Grand Prix

The Dutchman’s difficult weekend was compounded by him being noted by the stewards for driving unnecessarily slowly and he awaits to see if that will result in any further action.

Hamilton, meanwhile, was again among the frontrunners after setting the fastest time in Practice One and finishing second to Leclerc in Practice Two on Friday. After going off at Turn One and having limited running in the first part of Practice Three, the seven-time world champion produced a best time of 1:11.710 to place third.

There was more encouragement for McLaren too, with Piastri sitting fourth after a 1:11.901 and Norris sitting eighth just 0.087 seconds behind his team-mate. However, the Miami Grand Prix victor found himself under investigation by the steward after nearly tangling with Mercedes’ George Russell late on.

Monaco GP Practice Three Timesheet

Driver Team Time
1) Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:11.369
2) Max Verstappen Red Bull +0.197
3) Lewis Hamilton Mercedes +0.341
4) Oscar Piastri McLaren +0.532
5) Sergio Perez Red Bull +0.554
6) George Russell Mercedes +0.599
7) Carlos Sainz Ferrari +0.610
8) Lando Norris McLaren +0.619
9) Yuki Tsunoda RB +0.622
10) Fernando Alonso Aston Martin +0.718
11) Pierre Gasly Alpine +0.775
12) Alex Albon Williams +0.811
13) Nico Hulkenberg Haas +0.823
14) Kevin Magnussen Haas +0.847
15) Lance Stroll Aston Martin +0.962
16) Esteban Ocon Alpine +1.103
17) Logan Sargeant Williams +1.334
18) Daniel Ricciardo RB +1.460
19) Zhou Guanyu Sauber +1.460
20) Valtteri Bottas Sauber No time

Sky Sports F1’s live Monaco GP and Indy 500 schedule

Saturday May 25
1.10pm: F2 Sprint*
2.15pm: Monaco GP Qualifying build-up*
3pm: Monaco GP Qualifying*
5pm: Ted’s Qualifying Notebook

Sunday May 26
6.55am: F3 Feature Race
8.35am: F2 Feature Race
12.30pm: Grand Prix Sunday: Monaco GP build-up*
2pm: The MONACO GRAND PRIX*
4pm: Chequered Flag: Monaco GP reaction
5pm: Ted’s Notebook
5.30pm: The Indy 500

*also live on Sky Sports Main Event

It’s time for the most-famous F1 race of them all – the Monaco Grand Prix. Watch every session from the famous street circuit live on Sky Sports F1, with Sunday’s race at 2pm. Stream every F1 race and more with a NOW Sports Month Membership – No contract, cancel anytime