Nico Rosberg was fastest in the first practice session for this weekends Italian Grand Prix. Rosberg was .2 of a second faster than his team-mate Lewis Hamilton and the Ferrari’s of Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel were third and fourth respectively.
Both Mercedes set there fastest times on the supersoft tyres while both Ferrari’s used the soft tyres. With Mercedes and Ferrari opting to use different tyres it gives no real indication of where the teams are relative to each other. Force India’s Sergio Perez was fifth fastest.
The session passed without major drama on tracks with a few lock ups and a few drivers going wide. Including Hamilton has he tested the track limits but was unable to match his team-mate Rosberg who was around about a second faster than the Ferrari’s.
Ferrari will be wanting more from their home race as they are the first of the sport’s four engine makers to spend all of their available 32 engine ‘tokens’ for 2016. Honda still have three to spend, Mercedes six and Renault 21.
Perez was ahead of Williams’s Valtteri Bottas underlining there progress this season as they look to extend there lead over Williams following last weekends race at Spa. While Force India’s reserve Alonsfo Celis was twelfth fastest.
Haas showed a return to the performance they had in the early part of the season with Romain Grosjean sixth, two seconds ahead of team-mate Esteban Gutierrez in ninth on the supersofts. Red Bull looked off their normal pace which was expected because of the nature of the circuit.
Max Verstappen was eighth fastest ahead of team-mate Daniel Ricciardo in tenth. Monza is a high speed circuit which will play to the strengths of the Mercedes who have a much more horse power and downforce which is needed at this circuit.
McLaren for that reason knew going into this race knew it would be difficult because of the Honda engine. Things got worse because Fernando Alonso was forced to pit with a gearshift problem. He finished thirteenth with team-mate Jenson Button eleventh.
Button and Verstappen ran the halo head protection system in the first part of the session as trials continue ahead of the planned introduction of the device in 2018.
Sauber were ahead of the Manor’s and the struggling Renault’s. Esteban Ocon impressed with eighteenth for Manor, a second ahead of team mate Pascal Wehrlein, whose DRS later malfunctioned