F1 Monaco GP 2024 Free Practice 3: Leclerc marvellous in Monte Carlo

Follow all the F1 action on the Total Motorsport live blog as teams and drivers take to Monte Carlo for FP3 at the 2024 Monaco Grand Prix

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Good afternoon and welcome to Total-Motorsport’s coverage of Free Practice 3 at the 2024 Monaco Grand Prix. This year marks a significant milestone for the Monaco GP, celebrating its 70th edition as part of the Formula 1 Drivers’ World Championship. The rich history of this event only adds to the prestige and allure of racing on the iconic streets of Monte Carlo.

In Monaco, the F1 cars face some of the lowest forces of the season due to the slow average speed over the 3.337-kilometre track and corners taken at less than 50 km/h, with cars at full throttle for only 30% of the lap. The 19 corners of the Circuit de Monaco require precision and skill, with drivers aiming to get as close to the barriers as possible without damaging the car.

This season has already shown how close the competition can be, with grid positions often decided by mere thousandths of a second and FP1 continued in that form as Lewis Hamilton topped the session by just 0.029s from Oscar Piastri’s McLaren. The in FP2, Charles Leclerc delighted his home crowd by setting the fastest time on Friday.

This weekend’s race is set against the backdrop of numerous commemorations for the 30th anniversary of Ayrton Senna‘s passing, a legend who left an indelible mark on the Monaco Grand Prix. So stay tuned to Total-Motorsport.com for all the live action from the 2024 Monaco GP with this crucial third practice session at the historic Circuit de Monaco.

F1 Monaco GP 2024 FP3: Highlights and Results


REPORT: Leclerc sparkles, Mercedes maintain pace

Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc was fastest in the final free practice session ahead of qualifying at the Monaco Grand Prix on Saturday. The Monegasque continued his fine form around the streets where he grew up, posting a fastest lap of 1:11.369, and the 26-year-old will be the favourite heading into qualifying to snatch pole position.

Max Verstappen, who struggled with bouncing inside his Red Bull car, found pace only towards the end of the session to finish P2, while his team-mate Sergio Perez was nearly a second off the pace.

Lewis Hamilton went quick again to secure third ahead of Oscar Piastri in fourth and Sergio Perez in fifth. George Russell improved from Friday to round off the top six.

Despite several near-misses on the traffic-heavy track, Valtteri Bottas was the only driver to collide with the wall. The Finn hit the barriers at the swimming pool section and despite trying to limp back to the pits, he ended up stranded at La Rascasse, bringing out the first red flag of the session.

Charles Leclerc during 2024 Monaco GP during practice | Scuderia Ferrari Press Office
Charles Leclerc during 2024 Monaco GP during practice | Scuderia Ferrari Press Office

Verstappen investigated by stewards

Just before the end of the session, the stewards have noted an incident where Max Verstappen was deemed to be driving unnecessarily slowly towards the end of that session.

The Dutchman was trundling along the pit straight, which could be seen as dangerous given the speed some of his colleagues.

He cut a frustrated figure by the traffic in that session. It could be about to get worse as he will be investigated after FP3.

CHECKERED FLAG: Leclerc quickest again

That’s a wrap on practice in Monaco ahead of qualifying and there’s one man clearly quicker than the rest.

Will Verstappen deny Leclerc later today? It doesn’t look likely at this stage, but never rule out the Red Bull.

Charles Leclerc during 2024 Monaco GP during practice | Scuderia Ferrari Press Office
Charles Leclerc during 2024 Monaco GP during practice | Scuderia Ferrari Press Office

FP3 CLASSIFICATION

1) Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, 1:11.369

    2) Max Verstappen, Red Bull, +0.197

    3) Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, +0.341

    4) Oscar Piastri, McLaren, +0.532

    5) Sergio Perez, Red Bull, +0.554

    6) George Russell, Mercedes, +0.599

    7) Carlos Sainz, Ferrari, +0.610

    8) Lando Norris, McLaren, +0.619

    9) Yuki Tsunoda, RB, +0.622

    10) Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin, +0.718

      2 MINS TO GO: Final timed laps!

      Piastri goes second-fastest but again, is half a second off the leader. Russell rises to P4.

      Verstappen is on a better lap, going purple in sector one, but he’s lost time in the middle sector. Two tenths off Leclerc on nine-lap-old tyres. Hmm.

      5 MINS TO GO: Verstappen a long way off

      Verstappen does improve but he’s still half a second off Leclerc. No one can get near the Ferrari man today.

      Is this just a case of saving their true pace for qualifying, or is the Monegasque really that quick?

      Norris vents at ‘idiots’

      Norris has just been impeded by a Mercedes and says: “They’re idiots, all of them. Well, not all of them but some of them.”

      As it happens, it was his close friend Russell who blocked him coming out of the tunnel. Norris not happy at all.

      15 MINS TO GO: Leclerc blows away his rivals

      That’s what we’re talking about. Leclerc sets a 1:11.369. He seems very, very confident behind the wheel of that Ferrari.

      He’s SIX TENTHS quicker than Sainz in P2. That’s the difference so far.

      Charles Leclerc during the 2024 Japanese Grand Prix weekend | Suderia Ferrari Press Office
      Charles Leclerc is flying at Monaco. | Scuderia Ferrari Press Office

      Russell improves, Alonso quicker

      There’s your answer. Russell goes P2 with a decent lap and sets the fastest first sector, but he’s still quarter of a second behind Leclerc.

      But Fernando Alonso, who has been keeping a low profile this weekend, is only a tenth off the Ferrari. Interesting!

      Ferrari dominant at the top

      Fred Vasseur will be delighted. It’s currently Ferrari 1-2 at the top of the timings, with Leclerc now into the 1m11s, although there will be no room for complacency in the Scuderia garage.

      Verstappen, as we know, is always capable of hooking up a fine lap around these streets.

      Mercedes are… currently P9 and P15. Where has their pace gone from yesterday?

      Verstappen unhappy with Red Bull

      Yesterday he compared the RB20 to a ‘kangaroo’. And Verstappen isn’t happy with his Red Bull again, complaining of more bouncing inside the cockpit.

      Verstappen to his engineer: “Yeah, I mean, I know where I can gain time.. but it’s just not possible.. you know why.”

      He’s just gone quicker but remains three tenths off Leclerc. If it continues like this into qualifying, it could be the day that he finally loses his 100 per cent record of pole positions this year.

      Max Verstappen during practice ahead of 2024 Monaco Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool
      Max Verstappen during practice ahead of 2024 Monaco Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

      Track ramping up

      Whether it’s lower fuel, brand new tyres or the track rubbering in, the times are starting to get closer to what we had in FP2.

      Leclerc is still a second off yesterday’s smashing lap, but the Monegasque is the fastest of anyone out there. Tsunoda is currently running P2 and looking in fine form again.

      30 MINS TO GO

      No surprise at all to see Leclerc punch in the fastest lap with a 1:12.521. He’s a tenth and a half up on Piastri and nearly half a second quicker than Verstappen.

      Hamilton and Perez not on the pace so far today, though, as they sit P16 and P17 respectively.

      Magnussen fumes over the radio

      Magnussen is forced to take evasive action to avoid a slow-running Tsunoda in the tunnel, and that could have been a totally different outcome.

      “That was f***ing dangerous!” says Magnussen. He’s not wrong. The stewards have noted that incident for potential impeding.

      Hamilton goes off

      Hamilton had a huge lock-up at Saint Devote and needed every inch of the run-off area to avoid hitting the wall.

      Naturally, his soft tyres have picked up a flat spot and he’ll need to change them now.

      Piastri quickest so far

      The drivers are knocking in the laps now and it’s actually Nico Hulkenberg who is top of the pile with a 1:13.652. Leclerc and Russell are hot on his tail and you should expect to see the times start to fall.

      And yep, as we write, Oscar Piastri has just pumped in a lap four tenths quicker – a 1:12.875.

      GREEN LIGHT! 43 MINS TO GO

      Hamilton was caught by surprise by where Bottas’ car was, at the final corner at La Rascasse, and he grinds to a halt to put his Mercedes into reverse.

      But the stewards manage to clear the Sauber quickly and we’re back underway.

      RED FLAG!

      Well, that didn’t take long at all. Valtteri Bottas has hit the wall at the swimming pool section and the impact is heavy enough to bring out the red flag.

      He might have done some terminal damage to his front suspension there. That Sauber isn’t going anywhere.

      Magnussen sets first timed lap

      At last, we have a timed lap on the board. Well done, Kevin Magnussen, for going the distance.

      It’s a 1:14.683 from the Haas driver on the soft tyre, so that’s likely to be a lap where he’s been fuelled up. Hamilton goes half a second faster with a 1:14.104.

      Russell issues finally over

      Russell doesn’t get a time on the board. Instead, it seems he was just testing out the steering.

      The Mercedes driver tells his team over the radio: “The steering feels very different from yesterday. No vibrations which is obviously good. The steering is very light turning left.”

      FP3 GREEN LIGHT!

      We are underway for this hour-long session and the first driver out on the track is George Russell.

      No doubt he’ll soon be joined by the other 19 drivers soon, with data so important at this track.

      Glorious weather, no chance of rain

      The sun is shining and the marina looks glorious in the Principality today. It’s difficult not to be just a bit jealous of those in attendance at the Monaco Grand Prix.

      Luckily for us, we’re watching the same action. And we’re about to get underway for FP3.

      How quick are Mercedes?

      Lewis Hamilton lauded Friday as their best day of the year, while George Russell complained of having to hold his steering wheel “like a gorilla”.

      There was about seven tenths of a second between their best FP2 times, with Hamilton clearly the happier of the two despite not having their new front wing.

      But if Hamilton can be within two tenths of Charles Leclerc again in FP3 and qualifying, he’ll be very happy indeed given how quick the Ferrari has been around the street circut.

      Stars turn up on holiday for quali day

      Max Verstappen is a popular man, so it’s no surprise to see he’s got friends in high places.

      Morning to you, Liverpool footballer Virgil van Dijk!

      Does Monaco need to change?

      It’s a matter of opinion, clearly. But one of the topics of the weekend has been whether the Monaco GP needs to change to adapt to the modern demands of F1.

      Lewis Hamilton has suggested a one-off Monaco tyre to create more pit stop jeopardy and fast racing, while Christian Horner wants changes to the layout so the cars can properly overtake.

      But the Monaco purists have urged fans and drivers to simply appreciate the race for what it is and leave it alone. Either way, it seems inevitable something will be done in the future to make it possible to race at Monaco.

      George Russell at the 2024 Monaco Grand Prix | Mercedes / LAT Images
      George Russell at the 2024 Monaco Grand Prix | Mercedes / LAT Images

      FP2 results: Leclerc on top, Hamilton impresses

      In case you missed the action from Friday’s practice session, you can catch up quickly with all of the details right here.

      Good morning!

      It’s qualifying day at Monaco, arguably the best on the calendar, and it’s a scorching day for it.

      But first, we’ve got another 60-minute practice session to negotiate – and the teams will be desperate for their drivers to gather some crucial data whilst keeping their cars out of the barriers.

      Join us for what should be a super session around the streets of Monte Carlo.

      Monaco GP 2024 Pirelli Tyre Info

      Pirelli has selected the C3 as Hard, C4 as Medium, and C5 as Soft. Street circuits like Monaco feature smooth surfaces, demanding maximum grip from tyres. At Monaco, tyres face minimal forces due to the track’s slow average speed and corners taken at under 50 km/h, with cars at full throttle for only 30% of the lap. Despite this, the 78-lap race subjects tyres to frequent stress, especially during traction. Early in the weekend, graining can be problematic. Driver confidence is critical on this error-intolerant track with 19 corners, as qualifying is vital due to the difficulty of overtaking.

      Pirelli tyre info for the 2024 Monaco GP
      Pirelli tyre info for the 2024 Monaco GP

      Where to Watch the F1 2024 Monaco GP

      Sky Sports F1 remains the home for live Formula 1 racing in the UK. The channel will provide comprehensive coverage of the Monaco GP, including practice, qualifying, and the race itself. Meanwhile, F1 fans in the USA can catch all the action across ESPN with the race on ABC.

      Joe Krishnan
      Joe Krishnan
      Joe Krishnan is an NCTJ-qualified journalist who has worked for a number of media organisations, including the Daily Express, The Mirror, Evening Standard, The Independent and Bleacher Report. Joe has been following F1 since when he watched Mika Hakkinen clinch the 1999 drivers' championship, and his first taste of real-life racing action was watching David Coulthard spin off into the gravel at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone in 2001.
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