Racing Point Force India driver Sergio Perez, topped a wet opening practice session for the Italian Grand, outpacing Ferrari’s Kimi Räikkönen by more than half a second. Perez’s team-mate Esteban Ocon took third place ahead of the Toro Rosso of Brendon Hartley on a timesheet given an unfamiliar look due to the conditions.
After Räikkönen made a late improvement to take P1, Perez jumped to the top of the order with his final lap of the 90-minute session, as track conditions began to improve as the rain abated. The Mexican’s late lap prevented Hartley and Honda-powered Toro Rosso from setting the fastest time of the session.
The session began in heavy rain, but both Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo and Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg were quick to take to the track. Ricciardo, though, was quickly back to the garage, complaining of low power. The Australian spent a short spell in the garage as his team checked for issues and he was able to rejoin the action shortly after the half hour mark and he would eventually climb to fifth on the timesheet behind Hartley and 1.2s adrift of Perez’s P1 time.
As the session headed towards the half way point conditions began to improve and the times began to tumble, with the Mercedes cars of Lewis Hamilton and then Valtteri Bottas sitting at the top of the order.
Max Verstappen then moved ahead of the Mercedes duo with a lap of 1:35.665. The Dutchman’s time, on a drying track, was good enough to allow him to hold onto top spot until Hartley arrived with a lap of 1:35.024 in the closing minutes, with teasm-mate Pierre Gasly slotting into P2.
Ricciardo then split the Toro Rossos, with a lap of 1:35.207, before Räikkönen, Ocon and Perez demoted Hartley with last gasp laps on track that while still not dry enough for slicks, appeared to be rapidly approaching the crossover point from intermediate tyres.
2018 Formula 1 Italian Grand Prix – Free Practice 1
1 Sergio Perez Force India 18 1:34.000
2 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 28 1:34.550 0.550
3 Esteban Ocon Force India 17 1:34.593 0.593
4 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso 17 1:35.024 1.024
5 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Racing 13 1:35.207 1.207
6 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso 19 1:35.438 1.438
7 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing 10 1:35.665 1.665
8 Carlos Sainz Renault 15 1:35.995 1.995
9 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 15 1:36.107 2.107
10 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 8 1:36.238 2.238
11 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 6 1:36.546 2.546
12 Charles Leclerc Sauber 10 1:36.648 2.648
13 Kevin Magnussen Haas 13 1:37.066 3.066
14 Fernando Alonso McLaren 14 1:37.426 3.426
15 Romain Grosjean Haas 13 1:37.683 3.683
16 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 11 1:37.790 3.790
17 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 4 1:37.867 3.867
18 Sergey Sirotkin Williams 10 1:37.929 3.929
19 Lance Stroll Williams 8 1:38.253 4.253
20 Lando Norris McLaren 9 1:38.282 4.282