Ferrari’s Leclerc Continues to Set Pace in Italy


Charles Leclerc continued to the lead the way in practice for the Italian Grand Prix, edging Lewis Hamilton by 0.068s to take top spot in the afternoon session at Monza.

The Monegasque driver went quickest in a rain-affected morning session and as the weather again made conditions tricky midway through in the afternoon session Leclerc made good use of largely dry conditions early on to undertake his qualifying simulation. With softs tyres on board the Ferrari youngster posted a best time of 1:20.978 to take top spot.

Leclerc’s Ferrari team-mate then slotted into second place with a time of 1:21.179 to sit two tenths off the pace and with Mercedes not running in the early dry window it looked like the session would end with a Ferrari one-two as the rain began to fall after half an hour.

However, with about 30 minutes left on the clock the track once again began to dry and both Hamilton and Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas took to the circuit on the red-banded soft Pirelli compound.

And after setting the pace in the opening runs on medium tyres with a lap of 1:21.972, Hamilton pushed closest to Leclerc’s benchmark on soft tyres. The Briton delivered a lap of 1:21.046 to split the Ferraris and claim second place just under seven hundredths of a second behind Leclerc. Bottas, meanwhile, was left with fourth place, a little under two tenths behind Vettel.

Red Bull Racing took fifth and sixth place in the session with Max Verstappen the quicker of the team’s driver pairing. The Dutchman set a good lap of 1:21.350 to get to within four tenths of a second of Leclerc, but while the time was competitive Verstappen is facing a back-of-the-grid start on Sunday due to an engine change.

That penalty leaves Alex Albon as the team’s standard-bearer for qualifying and the new Red Bull Racing recruit put in a decent performance to take sixth place, 0.611 behind Leclerc and just 0.239s adrift of Verstappen.

Best of the rest honours in the afternoon went to the driver Albon replaced at Red Bull, Pierre Gasly. The Toro Rosso driver took seventh place in the session with a time of 1:22.124 that left him half a second off Albon.

Eighth place went to Haas’ Romain Grosjean with Daniel Ricciardo ninth for Renault ahead of the second Toro Rosso of Daniil Kvyat.
2019 FIA Formula 1 Italian Grand Prix – Free Practice 2
1 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 37 1:20.978
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 32 1:21.046 0.068
3 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 39 1:21.179 0.201
4 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 34 1:21.347 0.369
5 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing 29 1:21.350 0.372
6 Alex Albon Red Bull Racing 30 1:21.589 0.611
7 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso 42 1:22.124 1.146
8 Romain Grosjean Haas 44 1:22.153 1.175
9 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 36 1:22.249 1.271
10 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 37 1:22.260 1.282
11 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 37 1:22.338 1.360
12 Carlos Sainz McLaren 32 1:22.482 1.504
13 Kevin Magnussen Haas 42 1:22.511 1.533
14 Kimi Räikkönen Alfa Romeo Racing 35 1:22.523 1.545
15 Lance Stroll Racing Point 32 1:22.706 1.728
16 Sergio Perez Racing Point 33 1:22.882 1.904
17 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo Racing 35 1:23.065 2.087
18 Lando Norris McLaren 16 1:23.561 2.583
19 Robert Kubica Williams 29 1:23.737 2.759
20 George Russell Williams 23 1:24.313 3.335

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