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Leclerc tops interrupted practice in Monza

Mat Coch

Saturday 7th September, 2019 - 1:29am

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Charles Leclerc topped both practice sessions for the Italian Grand Prix

Charles Leclerc topped both practice sessions in Monza on a day interrupted by multiple red flags through two 90 minute sessions.

The Ferrari driver was a third of a second ahead of of Carlos Sainz in the opening session before narrowly edging out Lewis Hamilton in Practice 2.

Rain played havoc in both sessions; Practice 1 was largely wet while Practice 2 started dry before rain fell during the session.

The slippery conditions caught out a number of drivers in Practice 1 and saw three separate red flags.

Kimi Raikkonen left the road and nosed in at the Parabolica to trigger the first before it was Sergio Perez’s turn to find the wall, the Racing Point backing it in at the Variante Ascari.

Pierre Gasly drew the final red flag as he became beached on a kerb after losing control under braking for the Prima Variente at the beginning of the lap.

Through it all Leclerc went fastest, conditions improving during the session to afford the Frenchman the opportunity to sample a set of medium compound slicks on which he banked his best.

Sainz in second and Lando Norris third both used soft tyres to record their times, while Hamilton failed to set a representative lap with a spin at the opening chicane to end up only fourth.

Practice 2 was also interrupted by a red flag when race control elected to halt proceedings during an otherwise quiet period after gravel at Seconda Variante had been dragged onto the circuit.

Conditions improved markedly from the opening practice session, though rain briefly began to fall just prior to the half hour marker.

Though it lightly doused the circuit a dry line reappeared by session’s end and times tumbled once again.

Conditions did afford periods of dry running which weren’t possible in Practice 1, meaning Leclerc’s fastest time in Practice 2, a 1:20.978s, was the thick end of nine seconds faster than he’d managed earlier in the day.

Hamilton was less than a tenth back, though his Mercedes appeared to lack the straight-line grunt from the Ferrari.

Sebastian Vettel ended proceedings third fastest over Valtteri Bottas, the Red Bull of Max Verstappen nipping at his heels in fifth.

Further back Daniel Ricciardo climbed to ninth, though more than a second down on Leclerc.

Even still, it was but still a sizeable improvement over the 13th best effort from Practice 1 in an otherwise annonymous day’s running for the Australian.

The return of the rain as the session came to an end saw teams park their cars, having completed their programs between the showers.

Conditions are expected to remain mixed for the remainder of the weekend, though Saturday is forecast to be bright a sunny before turning dreary once again on Sunday.

Practice for the Formula 1 Italian Grand Prix continues tomorrow ahead of qualifying, the latter set to commence at 2300 AEST.

Result: Formula 1 Italian Grand Prix, Practice 1

Pos Num Driver Team Time/Diff
1 16 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:27.905
2 55 Carlos Sainz McLaren Renault +0.306s
3 4 Lando Norris McLaren Renault +0.545s
4 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes +0.825s
5 23 Alexander Albon Red Bull Honda +1.120s
6 26 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso Honda +2.055s
7 33 Max Verstappen Red Bull Honda +2.195s
8 5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari +2.602s
9 77 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes +2.691s
10 10 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso Honda +2.790s
11 99 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo Ferrari +4.943s
12 18 Lance Stroll Racing Point Mercedes +6.071s
13 3 Daniel Ricciardo Renault +6.623s
14 20 Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari +6.810s
15 27 Nico Hulkenberg Renault +7.228s
16 8 Romain Grosjean Haas Ferrari +8.075s
17 88 Robert Kubica Williams Mercedes +9.911s
18 63 George Russell Williams Mercedes +10.516s
19 11 Sergio Perez Racing Point Mercedes
20 7 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo Ferrari

Result: Formula 1 Italian Grand Prix, Practice 2

Pos Num Driver Team Time/Diff
1 16 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:20.978
2 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes +0.068s
3 5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari +0.201s
4 77 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes +0.369s
5 33 Max Verstappen Red Bull Honda +0.372s
6 23 Alexander Albon Red Bull Honda +0.611s
7 10 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso Honda +1.146s
8 8 Romain Grosjean Haas Ferrari +1.175s
9 3 Daniel Ricciardo Renault +1.271s
10 26 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso Honda +1.282s
11 27 Nico Hulkenberg Renault +1.360s
12 55 Carlos Sainz McLaren Renault +1.504s
13 20 Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari +1.533s
14 7 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo Ferrari +1.545s
15 18 Lance Stroll Racing Point Mercedes +1.728s
16 11 Sergio Perez Racing Point Mercedes +1.904s
17 99 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo Ferrari +2.087s
18 4 Lando Norris McLaren Renault +2.583s
19 88 Robert Kubica Williams Mercedes +2.759s
20 63 George Russell Williams Mercedes +3.335s

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