Verstappen tops Italian Grand Prix opening practice

Verstappen tops Italian Grand Prix opening practice

Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen topped the opening practice session for the 2023 FIA Italian Grand Prix, though the F1 championship leader finished just 0.046s ahead of Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz, with Sergio Pérez third in the other Red Bull ahead of Sainz’s team-mate Charles Leclerc. 


Verstappen and Pérez spent the early part of the session running on Hard compound Pirelli tyres as F1’s sustainability-focused Alternative Tyres Strategy returned following a first trial at last July’s Hungarian Grand Prix as Mercedes, Ferrari and McLaren opted for Soft tyres and the P1 time bounced between all of the four teams’ driver in the opening phase. 


Verstappen eventually held sway on Hards with a time of 1:23.027, and then improved by almost four tenths of a second as he took P1 ahead of the similarly shod Pérez. Leclerc then split the Red Bulls, before Pérez lowered his personal best to move back to second place. However, the Mexican was eventually eclipsed by Sainz who posted a lap of 1:22.70s to sit 0.046s off Verstappen’s 1m22.657s. 


Pérez held on to third place at the end of the session with his lap of 1:22.834, 0.177 behind his team-mate. Leclerc, who spent some time in the Ferrari garage fine-tuning the balance of his car, ended up in fourth place 0.309 off Verstappen. Both Ferrari’s also set the best times on Hard tyres. 


Fifth place in the session went to Mercedes’ George Russell Mercedes, 0.532 adrift of the benchmark on the C3 compound, while Medium-shod Fernando Alonso took P6 ahead of . McLaren’s Lando Norris who used a revised rear wing and Soft tyres to beat Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton. AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda finished in ninth place ahead of Alex Albon who completed the top 10 for Williams. 


2023 FIA Formula 1 Italian Grand Prix – Free Practice 1
1 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing 1:22.657 31 252.305
2 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 1:22.703 0.046 28 252.164
3 Sergio Pérez Red Bull Racing  1:22.834 0.177 30 251.766
4 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:22.966 0.309 22 251.365
5 George Russell Mercedes 1:23.189 0.532 28 250.691
6 Fernando Alonso Aston Martin 1:23.214 0.557 24 250.616
7 Lando Norris McLaren 1:23.241 0.584 22 250.535
8 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:23.269 0.612 26 250.450
9 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri 1:23.271 0.614 23 250.444
10 Alexander Albon Williams 1:23.444 0.787 18 249.925
11 Oscar Piastri McLaren 1:23.446 0.789 24 249.919
12 Logan Sargeant Williams 1:23.661 1.004 21 249.277
13 Liam Lawson AlphaTauri 1:23.833 1.176 29 248.765
14 Pierre Gasly Alpine 1:23.931 1.274 26 248.475
15 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo 1:23.952 1.295 17 248.413
16 Nico Hülkenberg Haas 1:24.067 1.410 23 248.073
17 Esteban Ocon Alpine 1:24.090 1.433 26 248.005
18 Felipe Drugovich Aston Martin 1:24.140 1.483 24 247.858
19 Kevin Magnussen Haas 1:24.217 1.560 24 247.631
20 Zhou Guanyu Alfa Romeo 1:24.232 1.575 17 247.587


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