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Oscar Piastri put McLaren at the top of the times in final practice at Formula 1’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, as both Fernando Alonso and Sergio Perez crashed out.

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Ferrari had fronted the times with Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc, but Piastri and team-mate Lando Norris both posted efforts at the end to provide McLaren a 1-2.

The teams were met with glorious sunshine once again at Imola and the hour commenced with the unusual sight of the two Red Bull drivers venturing onto the track. Red Bull had struggled throughout Friday and lagged behind Ferrari and McLaren, prompting extensive overnight work being put in to improve the balance of its RB20. Max Verstappen, who experienced several trips through the gravel in FP2, appeared much more comfortable at the wheel and headed the timesheets on the Medium. The Dutchman would remain as the lead runner on the middle-range compound, with Oscar Piastri showing McLaren’s speed to eclipse Sainz’s with a 1.15.529s time.

However, Ferrari had been prevented from responding to Piastri’s improvement due to Perez crashing his Red Bull head-on into the barrier at the Variante Alta chicane.

Although the session would be resumed with two minutes to go to enable the drivers to head back out, issues with traffic denied Leclerc and Sainz having clear runs. But Norris managed to discover some rare clean space on the circuit to post the quickest final sector to rise into second position, three-tenths behind his team-mate.

Sainz and Leclerc remained third and fourth respectively, with George Russell completing the top five for Mercedes as Verstappen was unable to post a Soft tyre time. Behind Verstappen came Alex Albon in seventh for Williams, Esteban Ocon in eighth for Alpine and Lance Stroll, who was the sole remaining Aston Martin circulating.

Fernando Alonso was seeking to get familiarised with Aston Martin’s latest updates, but he made an uncharacteristic error and ended in the barrier at the final corner. The Spaniard, running on the Hard tyre, understeered at Rivazza 1 onto the exit kerb and then lost the rear as he turned into the next left-hander and span into the wall. Aston Martin confirmed that Alonso had been cleared at the medical centre, but his participation in qualifying was put in doubt with noticeable damage to his AMR24.

Nico Hulkenberg moved his Haas car inside the top 10; Daniel Ricciardo placed 11th, ahead of Perez’s damaged Red Bull and his RB team-mate Yuki Tsunoda in 13th. Valtteri Bottas had been residing in fifth, but he slipped back as others posted faster times and dropped to 14th place, with Sauber team-mate Zhou Guanyu slowest. Logan Sargeant was 15th in the second Williams, with Kevin Magnussen next in the other Haas and Lewis Hamilton, who failed to match his team-mate and was 17th.