Hamilton Continues to Set Pace at Monza

Lewis Hamilton beat Nico Rosberg to the top of the final practice timesheets in Monza, with the championship leader finishing almost four tenths of a second clear of his Mercedes team-mate.

Rosberg was the first of the Mercedes pairing to show his hand in qualifying trim during the session, posting a time of 1:22.401 with 20 minutes left on the clock. His spell at the top of the order didn’t last long, however, as Hamilton was across the line moments later with a time of 1:22.008. It would remain the benchmark time until the chequered flag.

After edging close to Mercedes in yesterday afternoon’s second free practice session, Ferrari drifted further away from the champions in final practice. Sebastian Vettel got closest, taking P3 in the session, but his best effort on supersofts was still more than 0.9 behind Hamilton’s P1 time. Kimi Raikkonen finished fourth for the home team, two tenths of a second behind team-mate Vettel.

After taking eighth and 12th places in FP2, Williams improved overnight, parlaying their traditionally strong straight-line speed into P5 for Valtteri Bottas in final practice and P6 for team-mate Felipe Massa, who earlier in the weekend announced that he will retire from Formula One at the end of this season.

Red Bull Racing though again struggled for ultimate pace at a circuit that has historically been unsuited to their machinery. Daniel Ricciardo finished the session in seventh place with a lap of 1:23.709, 1.7s adrift of Hamilton’s time. Max Verstappen took P8, three hundredths of a second behind his team-mate.

The final top 10 place were taken by Mexican drivers Sergio Perez and Esteban Gutierrez. Perez took his Force India to a time of 1:23.917 but Gutierrez proved the worth of the upgraded engine Ferrari has brought to Monza by finishing just over a tenth of a second behind his Mercedes-powered compatriot.

It was a less successful session for Gutierrez’s team-mate Romain Grosjean, however. The Frenchman spun off at the Ascari chicane after just four laps and he ended up stranded in the gravel.

2016 Italian Grand Prix – Free Practice 3
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:22.008 14
2 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:22.401 17
3 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:22.946 13
4 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:23.149 12
5 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:23.500 20
6 Felipe Massa Williams 1:23.647 19
7 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:23.709 23
8 Max Verstappen Red Bull 1:23.740 21
9 Sergio Perez Force India 1:23.917 20
10 Esteban Gutierrez Haas 1:24.034 15
11 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1:24.041 21
12 Jenson Button McLaren 1:24.104 11
13 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso 1:24.240 17
14 Romain Grosjean Haas 1:24.463 4
15 Jolyon Palmer Renault 1:24.533 13
16 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 1:24.542 20
17 Fernando Alonso McLaren 1:24.658 12
18 Felipe Nasr Sauber 1:24.715 19
19 Kevin Magnussen Renault 1:24.793 12
20 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1:24.845 17
21 Pascal Wehrlein Manor 1:24.893 19
22 Esteban Ocon Manor 1:24.938 15

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