Lewis Hamilton topped the times in the final practice session of the weekend ahead of the Italian Grand Prix, by three tenths of a second, from team-mate Nico Rosberg, as Mercedes AMG PETRONAS send out the message to the rest of the teams that they have this one under control.
The Brit set a time of 1:22.008 to take the top spot from team-mate Rosberg, on a set of new super-soft tyres, with the Mercedes driver a second clear of third placed Scuderia Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel.
The Maranello based squad definitely look to have an edge on Red Bull Racing this weekend, who appear to be struggling to find any extra grip on the super-soft tyre. Ferrari have also brought an engine upgrade to their home grand prix, and those changes look to be working so far.
Kimi Raikkonen was fourth, two tenths down on his team-mate, with fellow countryman Valtteri Bottas finishing next in the order in fifth for Williams Martini Racing, a further three tenths off the pace. The Finn’s team-mate Felipe Massa was sixth, a strong performance from the Oxfordshire based team who are looking much stronger this weekend and in with a chance of challenging Ferrari for that best of the rest spot.
Daniel Ricciardo was seventh and the highest placed Red Bull Racing driver, who look to be struggling this weekend and have certainly dropped off the pace of those at the top. Max Verstappen was right behind his team-mate on an almost identical time, with just two hundredths of a second splitting the pair.
Sahara Force India driver Sergio Perez finished the session in ninth, and the Silverstone based squad once again look to be in with a chance of springing a surprise, with not much in it between the middle order teams.
Esteban Gutierrez rounded out the top ten for the Haas F1 team, with the American squad having a much stronger weekend so far, the Ferrari engine upgrade definitely appearing to have given them a boost in performance at Monza.
Nico Hulkenberg was eleventh in the second Force India, just six hundredths of a second up on McLaren-Honda F1 Team driver Jenson Button, who so far have performed better than expected this weekend.
Carlos Sainz Jnr was thirteenth for Scuderia Rosso Toro, in what was a much better session for the Faenza based team, who had looked way off the pace on Friday. The Spaniard was just ahead of Romain Grosjean who had barely any running following an off at Ascari at the very start of the FP3 session. The Frenchman clouted the inside kerb with the rear of the VF16, which spun the car and saw Grosjean end up in the gravel trap, beached and with no way out. Grosjean confirmed to the team that he had lost the gearbox prior to the incident.
Jolyon Palmer finished in fifteenth place, an improvement on Friday when the Renault Sport F1 Team were bringing up the rear of the timings. The Brit was just ahead of Sauber F1 Team driver Marcus Ericsson, and McLaren-Honda driver Fernando Alonso who was way down in seventeenth place, with no real reason given for the drop off in pace, although the Spaniard has already encountered a number of technical issues this weekend.
Felipe Nasr was eighteenth, ahead of the second Renault Sport F1 car of Kevin Magnussen, back on track after a massive accident at the top of Eau Rouge in Spa last weekend, which the Dane walked away from unscathed. He was ahead of the second Toro Rosso of Daniil Kvyat, who was once again way off the pace of team-mate Sainz Jnr, half a second adrift.
Manor Racing Team drivers Pascal Wehrlein and Esteban Ocon brought up the rear, having looked like they were going to perform more strongly on yesterday’s efforts, with Wehrlein finished just one tenth ahead of team-mate Ocon.
Heading into qualifying, the Mercedes AMG PETRONAS drivers look supreme, with Scuderi Ferrari having jumped Red Bull on home soil to become the German squads biggest rivals this weekend. Further back however Williams have moved themselves back into the mix, and could equally challenge for grid positions and a podium on race day.
Are Red Bull really so far off the pace this weekend? We will find out in just a couple of hours time!
2016 Italian Grand Prix – FP3 Results
|7||3||Daniel Ricciardo||AUS||Red Bull-Tag Heuer||1:23.709|
|8||33||Max Verstappen||NED||Red Bull-Tag Heuer||1:23.740|
|9||11||Sergio Perez||MEX||Force India-Mercedes||1:23.917|
|11||27||Nico Hulkenberg||GER||Force India-Mercedes||1:24.041|
|13||55||Carlos Sainz Jr||ESP||Toro Rosso-Renault||1:24.240|
|20||26||Daniil Kvyat||RUS||Toro Rosso-Renault||1:24.845|