Lewis Hamilton fastest in final practice ahead of the Italian F1 GP sprint race

Lewis Hamilton topped the time charts in final practice for the Italian Grand Prix.

The world champion, who will start Saturday’s sprint race at Monza from second, finished 0.222 seconds clear of Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas.

Bottas will line up on pole later, but will be expected to move aside for Hamilton, to maximise the Briton’s bid for an eighth world title.

Max Verstappen, who qualified third, finished third, half a second down on Hamilton with the power-hungry Temple of Speed playing to Mercedes’ strengths.

Points are awarded to the top-three finishers of the sprint event, while the final result also determines the grid for Sunday’s Grand Prix.

Carlos Sainz’s Ferrari crew will face a race against time to repair his machine after the Spaniard crashed out of final practice.

Sainz lost control of his Ferrari through Ascari, hitting the wall and sustaining serious damage to the front of his car.

“I have had a massive crash,” reported a winded Sainz over the radio. “That hurt a bit, but I am OK.”

Sainz was taken to the medical center before being given the all-clear, while the action was suspended for 13 minutes as the Ferrari driver’s car was towed away.

Sergio Perez finished fourth for Red Bull six tenths back, with Esteban Ocon fifth for Alpine and British driver Lando Norris 10th for McLaren.

The 18-lap sprint race gets under way at 16:30 local time.

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