Formula One world champion Max Verstappen was fastest in Saturday’s final practice session for the Italian Grand Prix, holding off Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc with a best time of one minute and 21.252 seconds.
Championship leader Verstappen finished the session 0.347sec in front of Leclerc who is aiming to claim the honours on home turf for Ferrari who celebrate their 75th birthday this weekend.
Verstappen is 109 points clear of Leclerc and his Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez at the top of the drivers’ standings and is red-hot favourite to claim his second straight world title.
However he will not start on pole at the ‘Temple of Speed’ on Sunday as he was hit with a five-place grid penalty on Friday.
The Dutchman is one of a host of drivers to be hit with grid penalties alongside Perez who drops back 10 places and finished practice 0.596sec behind in third.
Others handed sanctions include seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton and Leclerc’s Ferrari teammate Carlos Sainz who will both start at the back on Sunday.
Spaniard Sainz was fourth in practice, 0.645sec off the pace while his compatriot two-time champion Fernando Alonso was just over a second back in fifth for Alpine.
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