Leclerc sets the pace in Italian GP free practice

Leclerc sets the pace in Italian GP free practice


Charles Leclerc continued to the lead the way in practice for the Italian Grand Prix, edging Lewis Hamilton by 0.068s to take top spot in the afternoon session at Monza. 

The Monegasque driver went quickest in a rain-affected morning session and as the weather again made conditions tricky midway through in the afternoon session Leclerc made good use of largely dry conditions early on to undertake his qualifying simulation. With softs tyres on board the Ferrari youngster posted a best time of 1:20.978 to take top spot.

Leclerc’s Ferrari team-mate then slotted into second place with a time of 1:21.179 to sit two tenths off the pace and with Mercedes not running in the early dry window it looked like the session would end with a Ferrari one-two as the rain began to fall after half an hour. 

However, with about 30 minutes left on the clock the track once again began to dry and both Hamilton and Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas took to the circuit on the red-banded soft Pirelli compound. 

And after setting the pace in the opening runs on medium tyres with a lap of 1:21.972, Hamilton pushed closest to Leclerc’s benchmark on soft tyres. The Briton delivered a lap of 1:21.046 to split the Ferraris and claim second place just under seven hundredths of a second behind Leclerc. Bottas, meanwhile, was left with fourth place, a little under two tenths behind Vettel. 

Red Bull Racing took fifth and sixth place in the session with Max Verstappen the quicker of the team’s driver pairing. The Dutchman set a good lap of 1:21.350 to get to within four tenths of a second of Leclerc, but while the time was competitive Verstappen is facing a back-of-the-grid start on Sunday due to an engine change. 

That penalty leaves Alex Albon as the team’s standard-bearer for qualifying and the new Red Bull Racing recruit put in a decent performance to take sixth place, 0.611 behind Leclerc and just 0.239s adrift of Verstappen.

Best of the rest honours in the afternoon went to the driver Albon replaced at Red Bull, Pierre Gasly. The Toro Rosso driver took seventh place in the session with a time of 1:22.124 that left him half a second off Albon. 

Eighth place went to Haas’ Romain Grosjean with Daniel Ricciardo ninth for Renault ahead of the second Toro Rosso of Daniil Kvyat. 

2019 FIA Formula 1 Italian Grand Prix – Free Practice 2
1 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 37 1:20.978 
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 32 1:21.046 0.068
3 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 39 1:21.179 0.201
4 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 34 1:21.347 0.369
5 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing 29 1:21.350 0.372
6 Alex Albon Red Bull Racing 30 1:21.589 0.611
7 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso 42 1:22.124 1.146
8 Romain Grosjean Haas 44 1:22.153 1.175
9 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 36 1:22.249 1.271
10 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 37 1:22.260 1.282
11 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 37 1:22.338 1.360
12 Carlos Sainz McLaren 32 1:22.482 1.504
13 Kevin Magnussen Haas 42 1:22.511 1.533
14 Kimi Räikkönen Alfa Romeo Racing 35 1:22.523 1.545
15 Lance Stroll Racing Point 32 1:22.706 1.728
16 Sergio Perez Racing Point 33 1:22.882 1.904
17 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo Racing 35 1:23.065 2.087
18 Lando Norris McLaren 16 1:23.561 2.583
19 Robert Kubica Williams 29 1:23.737 2.759
20 George Russell Williams 23 1:24.313 3.335




FP1 Charles Leclerc topped a rain-affected first practice for this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix that was interrupted by red flags on three occasions. 

Leclerc, who last weekend in Belgium became Ferrari’s youngest grand prix winner, claimed top at the end of the damp session as the field moves to slick tyres at the end of the session. The Monegasque driver set a best time of 1:27.905 to beat McLaren’s Carlos Sainz by three tenths of a second, with the Spanish driver a further two tenths ahead of team-mate Lando Norris. 

Following heavy overnight rain and drizzle this morning the session featured a brief early period on full wet tyres before the field quickly moved to intermediate rubber. Around half an hour into the session running was halted for the first time when Kimi Räikkönen beached his Alfa Romeo in the gravel traps at Parabolica. 

However, the second delay arrived moments after the green flags had been shown for the re-start. This time it was Racing Point’s Sergio Pérez who was caught out by the conditions. The Mexican driver lost control of his car through the Ascari Chicane and he slid off backwards into the barriers. The impact flipped him round and he also damaged the front left side of the car. 

After a period of improvement for many drivers on a drying track, Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly then caused a final brief red flag spell when he became stranded on a kerb at the first Rettifilo chicane. With the aid or mashals the Frenchman was able to get going again, however, and thus the halt was a brief one. 

In the final phase of the session, with conditions steadily improving, the times began to tumble with Leclerc and the McLaren driver posting their time at the very end of the session. 

That left fourth place to Lewis Hamilton who set a time eight tenths of a second slower than Leclerc’s late slick tyre lap. Fifth place went to Red Bull Racing’s Alex Albon with former Toro Rosso team-mate Daniil Kvyat. The Russian briefly claimed top spot with his time of 1:29.960 in the final two minutes of the session but the rapidly improving conditions saw his eventually beaten by more than two seconds as the leading drivers in the session all made large gains in the final flurry. 

Max Verstappen finished seventh in the second Red Bull, ahead of the second Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel, while Valtteri Bottas took ninth for Mercedes ahead of the second Toro Rosso of Gasly who ended the session 2.790s off Leclerc’s P1 time. 

2019 FIA Formula 1 Italian Grand Prix – Free Practice 1 
1 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 20 1:27.905 
2 Carlos Sainz McLaren 25 1:28.211 0.306
3 Lando Norris McLaren 23 1:28.450 0.545
4 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 11 1:28.730 0.825
5 Alex Albon Red Bull Racing19 1:29.025 1.120
6 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 25 1:29.960 2.055
7 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing 11 1:30.10 2.195
8 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:30.507 2.602
9 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 11 1:30.596 2.691
10 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso 26 1:30.695 2.790
11 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo Racing 22 1:32.848 4.943
12 Lance Stroll Racing Point Racing Point 9 1:33.976 6.071
13 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 10 1:34.528 6.623
14 Kevin Magnussen Haas 7 1:34.715 6.810
15 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 10 1:35.133 7.228
16 Romain Grosjean Haas 7 1:35.980 8.075
17 Robert Kubica Williams 12 1:37.816 9.911
18 George Russell Williams 12 1:38.421 10.516
19 Sergio Perez Racing Point 4 
20 Kimi Räikkönen Alfa Romeo Racing 4

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