Verstappen fastest as Hamilton crash ends final Monaco practice early

Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez controlled final practice at the Monaco Grand Prix before a Lewis Hamilton red flag ended the session six minutes early.

Red Bull had changes made overnight to drastically improve balance of the RB19, having starting the weekend unusually wide of the mark, and Verstappen made great use of his new setup to top the timesheets with a lap of 1m 12.776s.

Perez rotated through top spots during the session but ended up a wafer-thin 0.073s adrift of his teammate.

Most drivers took a final set of fresh softs in the final 15 minutes of the hour, but a combination of grip conditions that appeared to have reached their peak and heavy traffic on track meant few were able to meaningful improve their times.


Hamilton was one of the few who appeared to have some forward momentum and had just completed the fastest first sector when he carried too much speed into the downhill right-hander Mirabeau and slid across the track and into the barrier. Damage was isolated to the front-left corner of the car, but didn’t appear to be extensive.

With the session ending early and unable to be resumed, Lance Stroll finished third at 0.166s adrift for Aston Martin.

Carlos Sainz was the fastest Ferrari car in a tricky session for the Italian team. The Spaniard was 0.485s off the pace but still 0.214s faster than teammate Charles Leclerc down in seventh.

The Monegasque complained of severe bottoming-out, particularly around the second half of the lap, and looked generally uncompetitive at his home race.

“We need to change the car,” Leclerc said. “I need to lift in the S of the Swimming Pool because I have no control of the car.”

Lando Norris slotted into fifth and 0.62s off the pace, just pipping Pierre Gasly’s Alpine ahead of Leclerc.

Hamilton was eighth and 0.71s off the pace ahead of Esteban Ocon in the second Alpine despite the Frenchman suffering a loss of power early in the session that required him to execute a system restart while stopped in the tunnel.

Valtteri Bottas rounded out the top 10 for Alfa Romeo.

George Russell continued to be off Hamilton’s pace in the upgraded Mercedes in 11th ahead of the stopped Kevin Magnussen, who had to park his Haas at Portier with an apparent power steering failure late in the session.

Fernando Alonso was a surprisingly lowly 14th in part thanks to traffic during the session.

Yuki Tsunoda followed in 15th ahead Zhou Guanyu, Logan Sargeant and Alex Albon.

Rookies Oscar Piastri and Nyck de Vries completed the order in 19th and 20th.

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Story originally appeared on Racer