Valtteri Bottas was fastest by almost a quarter of a second in first practice for the Italian Grand Prix. The Finn set his fastest time on the medium tyre before the red flag when Red Bull’s Max Verstappen crashed at the Ascari chicane breaking his front wing.
Bottas was two tenths quicker than his teammate with Mercedes showing they remain the team to beat at Monza, a circuit which requires low downforce and power. Mercedes closest challenger was the Red Bull of Alex Albon, but the advantage held by Mercedes was over half a second.
Albon’s teammate Max Verstappen had to settle for fifth after losing control of his car through the Ascari chicane, causing him to spin into the gravel. Verstappen managed to recover his Red Bull to the pits as the red flag came out to clear the gravel away.
Then the teams set about doing there soft runs, which allowed Bottas to go two tenths up on Hamilton. Also, Honda continued progress was clear to be seen as they occupied third to sixth.
Verstappen’s spin left him narrowly faster than his former teammate Pierre Gasly, while his other former teammate was fourth. The three drivers just over a tenth apart, despite the Frenchman having a spin at the Roggia chicane.
Racing Point led the midfield battle with Sergio Perez going seventh fastest by setting his lap first after McLaren’s Lando Norris set an identical time. Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo was eighth going four hundredths slower to spilt the two McLaren’s with Carlos Sainz tenth.
Ricciardo is expected to be one to watch, he was fourth in qualifying last weekend and his fastest time in the session was set on the soft tyre. Sainz was nearly a tenth faster than Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, on what is expected to be another difficult weekend for the Scuderia.
Ferrari goes into the first of two home races off the back of there worst qualifying at Spa since 2014, the teams lack of power and downforce left Leclerc over a second off the pace. Esteban Ocon was twelfth fastest ahead of Lance Stroll.
The Canadian being one of several drivers to report concerns about cars moving slowly on the racing line in a bid to find space and get a tow. The tow, is so powerful around Monza many sessions over the years have seen the drivers fight for a tow.
Romain Grosjean was fourteenth fastest going almost three tenths faster than Haas teammate Kevin Magnussen. However, his session was brought to an end with a cooling issue. They were ahead of the two Alfa Romeo’s, of Antonio Giovinazzi and Kimi Raikkonen.
On the final weekend for Williams as a family team, Roy Nissany was eighteenth going faster than both Sebastian Vettel and teammate George Russell.
Ferrari’s pace, or lack of, is providing one of the main talking points this weekend, along with the F1 engine ‘party mode’ rule change and the Williams family’s exit from the sport.