Mercedes resumed its dominance on Friday morning at Monza where Valtteri Bottas edged Lewis Hamilton in the first practice session for the Italian Grand Prix.
Bottas’ best lap was 0.245s quicker than Hamilton while Alex Albon was 0.8s adrift, the Red Bull driver preceding AlphaTauri’s Daniil Kvat while Max Verstappen rounded off the top five.
As for Ferrari, the woes continued…
Italian Grand Prix Free Practice 1 – Results
The two main topics under discussion n the paddock at Monza are obviously the departure from F1 of the Williams and the introduction this weekend of F1’s new engine mode rules, with both subjects largely covered here on F1i.com.
Regarding Williams, development driver Roy Nissany was back in the seat for the second time this season, replacing George Russell in FP1.
Fittingly, Sebastian Vettel was the first to venture out into Monza’s picturesque parklands, although there were no fans in the grandstands to entertain.
Following the usual burst of installation laps, Red Bull’s Alex Albon was the first driver to put a time on the board, dropping a 1m22.280s, the British-Thai racer joined in short order at the top by teammate Max Verstappen.
But after 30 minutes of running, Hamilton took command, before Bottas lowered the benchmark to 1m21.657s.
Verstappen then briefly brought out the first red flag of the session after sliding into the gravel on the exit of Variante Ascari, but the Dutchman was quick to extract himself from the kitty litter and get going again, although the RB16 was missing its front wing.
When the action resumed, the AlphaTauri pair of Daniil Kvyat and Pierre Gasly – on the medium tyre – eased itself into P4 and P5, while Albon sat third behind the two Mercedes which further lowered their times, with Bottas still quickest in 1m20.703s.
The last 15 minutes of the day’s opening work session showed no significant improvements among the front-runners, but Gasly put a few more stones on the track when he spun at the second chicane – or Turn 4.
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Bottas thus completed the morning at the top of the timesheet, followed by Hamilton, Albon, Kvyat and Verstappen.
Gasly in sixth edged Racing Point’s Sergio Perez and McLaren’s Lando Norris while Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo and Carlos Sainz rounded off the top ten.
Predictably, all Ferrari-powered contenders were lingering down the order, with Charles Leclerc clocking in a lowly P11 while Vettel was left stranded down in 19th position, only faster than Williams’ Nicholas Latifi!
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