ITALIAN GP – Lewis Hamilton fastest by two tenths from Valtteri Bottas in second practice

Testing & Race Reports

Lewis Hamilton topped the times going two tenths faster than his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas in the second practice for the Italian Grand Prix. The seven-time champion set his fastest time midway through the session, that put him ahead of the Finn and his title rival Max Verstappen third.

Most of the teams however spent all of the session focused on race runs ahead of the second sprint qualifying and Sundays Grand Prix which meant that lap times were significantly slower than in qualifying yesterday. Verstappen was four-tenths behind Hamilton but managed to go over a quarter of a second ahead of his teammate Sergio Perez.

Mercedes are expected to be the favourites going into sprint qualifying and the race, the high-speed Monza circuit is expected to favour the nature of the car. However, Bottas will start the main race from last because of an engine change.

Esteban Ocon put his Alpine fifth going a two-hundredths faster than the Alfa Romeo of Robert Kubica, who himself was two and a half tenths quicker than his teammate Antonio Giovinazzi. As ever with race runs, set up and fuel loads remain unknown but there are limited changes which can be made.

The only real drama of the session was when Carlos Sainz crashed his Ferrari at high speed through the newly renamed Ascari chicane, bringing out the red flag. The Spaniard lost control at the second apex, sending him spearing off into the wall, describing it on team radio as a “massive crash” over the radio and said it “hurt a bit” but that he was OK.

Replays showing his head jolting forward in the cockpit. The Spaniard was taken to the medical centre after the crash and given preliminary clearance, but will undergo a further check ahead of qualifying.

Fernando Alonso was eighth fastest going just over a tenth faster than the Alpha Tauri of Pierre Gasly, Lando Norris had to settle for tenth after several laps were deleted for track limits. Charles Leclerc settled for eleventh splitting the McLaren’s, but reported issues towards the end of the session.

Nicolas Latifi was thirteenth fastest, going two and three-quarters of a tenth faster than his Williams teammate George Russell. Yuki Tsunoda was three tenths behind in his Alpha Tauri but was ahead of the Haas of Nikita Mazepin by just over three tenths.

Lance Stroll was eighteenth going over a tenth and a half faster than his teammate Sebastian Vettel, the four-time champion reporting some derating from his engine. Mick Schumacher nineteenth, with Sainz twentieth following his crash.

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