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Red Bull’s Perez beats Ferrari’s Leclerc in 3rd practice

MONACO (AP) — Sergio Perez showed that Red Bull has the speed to compete with Ferrari, beating Charles Leclerc in the final practice session of the Monaco Grand Prix ahead of qualifying later Saturday to set the field for Sunday’s race.

Third practice is usually not exciting, but fans swarming around the street circuit were treated to a fine duel in bright sunshine.

Perez jostled with Leclerc for the top spot but finally edged out the Ferrari driver in the closing stages by just .041 seconds. Leclerc’s teammate Carlos Sainz Jr. followed in third ahead of championship leader Max Verstappen for Red Bull.

Mercedes again lacked speed as seven-time F1 champion Lewis Hamilton placed seventh and George Russell was ninth.

Leclerc lost the F1 points lead last week in Spain and he’s never finished an F1 race on his hometown streets.

Defending champion Verstappen has won three consecutive races and now leads Leclerc by six points.

Leclerc topped both of Friday’s practice sessions while Mercedes struggled to keep the car from bouncing.

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More AP auto racing: https://apnews.com/hub/auto-racing and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Red Bull driver Sergio Perez of Mexico steers his car during the third free practice at the Monaco racetrack, in Monaco, Saturday, May 28, 2022. The Formula one race will be held on Sunday.

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