Red Bull Racing’s Sergio Pérez took top spot in final practice for the Monaco Grand Prix, beating Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc’s by four hundredths of a second, with Carlos Sainz third in the other Ferrari ahead of World Championship leader Max Verstappen.
At the start of the session, Leclerc set the benchmark after eight minutes with a lap of 1:14.008 that put him ahead of Sainz. Pérez and Verstappen then took to the track but they couldn’t make a dent on the Monegasque driver’s time, with both crossing the line some four tenths adrift of the lead Ferrari.
Leclerc then went quicker, lowering the bar to 1:13.647 but this time the Red Bull’s responded and as they traded best laps the P1 time steadily fell until just shy of the halfway mark Leclerc took P1 with a lap of 1:12.885.
McLaren’s Lando Norris then put in a good lap to go third but the Briton was quickly beaten by Pierre Gasly as AlphaTauri continued to look potent on the streets of the Principality. That signalled that there was more lap time to find and when the Ferraris and Red Bulls rejoined the action they again entered into a private battle for top spot.
With three minutes left in the session and having just put in a lap of 1:12.554 Pérez looked to have done enough, but Leclerc found more pace and bumped the Mexican to P2 with a time of 1:12.517. Pérez was winding up for a final attempt, however, and his final flyer netted the Red Bull driver a lap of 1:12.476 lap and top spot, by 0.041s.
Sainz took third place, three tenths of a second behind the top pair, while Verstappen took the flag four tenths of a second adrift of his team-mate.
Gasly kept hold of fifth ahead of Norris, while Lewis Hamilton was the highest-placed Mercedes in seventh place, nine tenths of a second off the leaders.
Kevin Magnussen finished eighth for Haas ahead of the other Mercedes of George Russell and Alpine’s Fernando Alonso.
While Pérez finished the session at the top of the order he was summoned to the stewards’ office after the session as they looked into an incident between the Mexican and Russell in which the Red Bull appeared to impede the Mercedes.
2022 FIA Formula 1 Monaco Grand Prix – Free Practice 3
1 Sergio Perez Red Bull Racing 27 1:12.476
2 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 29 1:12.517 0.041
3 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 28 1:12.846 0.370
4 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing 29 1:12.881 0.405
5 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri 22 1:13.210 0.734
6 Lando Norris McLaren 19 1:13.226 0.750
7 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 26 1:13.375 0.899
8 Kevin Magnussen Haas 24 1:13.436 0.960
9 George Russell Mercedes 26 1:13.476 1.000
10 Fernando Alonso Alpine 23 1:13.585 1.109
11 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri 25 1:13.645 1.169
12 Mick Schumacher Haas 26 1:13.827 1.351
13 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin 28 1:13.838 1.362
14 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo 25 1:13.849 1.373
15 Alex Albon Williams 22 1:13.882 1.406
16 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren 29 1:14.104 1.628
17 Esteban Ocon Alpine 22 1:14.260 1.784
18 Lance Stroll Aston Martin 20 1:14.639 2.163
19 Zhou Guanyu Alfa Romeo 25 1:14.861 2.385
20 Nicholas Latifi Williams 26 1:14.910 2.434