Felipe Massa set the quickest time of final practice for the Italian Grand Prix as heavy rain led to a much-abbreviated session featuring just 16 minutes of running.
The rain moved into the Monza area overnight and ahead of this morning’s session the downpours intensified to the degree that five minutes before the scheduled start at 11am local time, and following a test of the conditions by the safety car, Race Control reported that the session would be delayed indefinitely.
Two further tests were undertaken and after the second the decision was taken to begin the session at 11.44.
When the pit exit opened the Red Bulls of Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen were first on track, though after testing the conditions both swiftly returned to the pits to sit out the remaining quarter of an hour.
Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz was the first to post a time, with the Spaniard stopping the clock in 1:42.973s. He them lowered that to 1:41.515 as his confidence grew.
While a number of other drivers took to the track for exploratory laps, including Ferrari’s Kimi Räikkönen and Sebastian Vettel and Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, just seven driver registered timed laps before the chequered flag fell.
And it was Massa who finished on top, setting a time of 1:40.660 to beat team-mate Lance Stroll by 0.228s. Third place on the timesheet went to Nico Hulkenberg, just under six tenths behind Stroll. The only other drivers to set times were Sainz in fourth, followed by Jolyon Palmer in the second Renault, Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson and Daniil Kvyat in the second Toro Rosso.
2017 Italian Grand Prix – Free Practice 3
1 Felipe Massa Williams 1:40.660s – 4
2 Lance Stroll Williams 1:40.888s 0.228s 4
3 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1:41.491s 0.831s 4
4 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso 1:41.515s 0.855s 5
5 Jolyon Palmer Renault 1:44.369s 3.709s 4
6 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 1:44.701s 4.041s 3
7 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1:45.033s 4.373s 4
8 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull – – 1
9 Max Verstappen Red Bull – – 1
10 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari – – 3
11 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari – – 4
12 Fernando Alonso McLaren – – 2
13 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren – – 4
14 Romain Grosjean Haas – – 1
15 Kevin Magnussen Haas – – 1
16 Esteban Ocon Force India – – 2
17 Pascal Wehrlein Sauber – – 2
18 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes – – 1
19 Sergio Perez Force India – – 1
20 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes – – 1