Sainz edges out Verstappen again in Italian GP final practice

Verstappen returned to top of the timing charts ahead of qualifying at Monza after Ferrari took the top spot yesterday.

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Carlos Sainz returned to the top of the timing charts for the second session in a row in the final practice runs ahead of qualifying for the Italian GP.

Sainz was faster than Max Verstappen in second practice on Friday, albeit after the Dutchman was impeded during some of his flying laps, and there is a quiet confidence in the Scuderia that their low-downforce setup could be competitive at Monza.

The Spaniard was 0.086s ahead of the Dutchman, with the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton in third half a second back, just ahead of the second Ferrari of Charles Leclerc.

Fernando Alonso was fifth for Aston Martin, ahead of George Russell and the Haas pair of Kevin Magnussen and Nico Hulkenberg.

Verstappen’s Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez was forced to retire in the closing stages of the session before he got a chance to do a final flying lap, with a leak in the power unit emerging as the team prepped the car for the last runs on track.

Ferrari in the hunt

While Red Bull still ultimately hold the advantage in race pace, Ferrari could challenge for pole in qualifying and are set for a battle with McLaren and Mercedes during the race for the podium spots.

Despite McLaren’s significant improvements over the summer, Lando Norris believes the team could struggle to challenge for another podium in Italy.

Where can I watch the 2023 Italian GP?

For viewers in the UK, every session of the 2023 Italian GP will be shown live on Sky Sports F1, with highlights on Channel 4.

Meanwhile, if you are in the USA, every session will be shown across ESPN

F1 fans in Australia will be able to catch all the action on Fox Sports, while those in Canada can watch on TSN.

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