Italian GP: Sainz beats Verstappen to keep Ferrari on top in Practice 3

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Carlos Sainz beat Max Verstappen to set the pace again in final practice at the Italian Grand Prix.

Just as the world champion appeared to have pushed the bar out of reach of the others, the Ferrari driver proved the Scuderia could offer a fight at least over a single lap around Monza. 

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After being compromised on Friday, Verstappen led teammate Perez by half a second after the first runs on used soft tyres.

Lewis Hamilton ran third as he completed his first laps on the red-striped tyre followed by Sainz in the lead Ferrari.

Teams ran a mix of compounds with Formula 1 using the Alternate Tyre Allocation this weekend, forcing them to run all three compounds in qualifying.

This was highlighted by Lando Norris in fifth and Fernando Alonso seventh on hard tyres.

When the second runs began, Alex Albon jumped up to second on medium tyres as Williams topped the speed trap at over 340kph on the main straight with both cars.

Traffic remained an issue with Zhou Guanyu picking up a rare black and white flag during practice for impeding Norris at the Lesmo bends.

McLaren were pushing their setup on Oscar Piastri's car, testing how much front wing could be dialled in without unsettling the rear.

That limit was definitely found when the Australian slid in the Roggia chicane and went for a trip through the gravel.

The final soft tyre runs began with 15 minutes to go with Hamilton going fastest by a quarter of a second and George Russell improving to third.

Verstappen would reclaim P1 by almost half a second on his lap, dipping into the 1m20s for the first time.

But it would be Sainz who kept his Ferrari on top, posting a 1m20.912s to beat the Red Bull driver by just 0.086s.

The Spaniard later joined Zhou in the naughty club, however, picking up a black and white flag for blocking Piastri in the Rettifilo chicane.

Hamilton remained third, just ahead of Charles Leclerc in fourth, though the Monegasque didn't manage a completely clean lap in his Ferrari.

Alonso sat fifth followed by Russell in the second Mercedes and the Haas pair of Kevin Magnussen and Nico Hulkenberg were seventh and eighth.

Albon was the only driver not to set his best time on softs in ninth, instead completing a strong lap on the hard compound in the Williams.

Sergio Perez rounded out the top 10 for Red Bull but missed the final half an hour due to a leak on his car.

Lance Stroll finished 11th in his only practice session of the weekend in the Aston Martin.

Liam Lawson was 12th, 0.001s faster than AlphaTauri teammate Yuki Tsunoda in 13th.

Piastri claimed 14th, ahead of Logan Sargeant, Valtteri Bottas and Norris only 17th in the other McLaren.

Alpine had a very low-key session with Esteban Ocon 18th and Pierre Gasly 20th, either side of Zhou Guanyu's Alfa Romeo.