Hamilton quickest again in Monza but Rosberg closes in

Lewis Hamilton continued to set the pace for Mercedes at Monza but whereas the championship leader eclipsed team-mate Nico Rosberg by just shy of half a second in the morning session, in the afternoon Rosberg closed the gap to just two hundredths of a second.

Sebastian Vettel was third and after being over 1.5s off the pace in the morning he too closed the gap to Hamilton in the afternoon, ending the session seven tenths adrift of the Briton after the teams’ runs on the option soft tyre.

The session began with Ferrari’s pleasing the partisan local crowd by settling into an early one-two, with Kimi Räikkönen first topping the times with a lap of 1:26.684 before he was eclipsed by Vettel on 1:26.548.

Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg then went quickest before Vettel reclaimed top spot with a lap of 1:26.252.

Those laps were set before either Mercedes driver had taken to the track but once they did the duo quickly rose to the top with Hamilton first to P1 with a time of 1:25.683 before Rosberg took over with a lap of 1:25.617. Hamilton then improved to 1:25.133s to leave his team-mate three tenths of a second adrift.

Hulkenberg was the first to make the move to the soft tyre, setting a time of 1:25.720. He was followed by Vettel who split the Mercedes duo with his opening soft-tyre lap of 1:25.136. The Ferrari driver then went fastest with a second flying lap on the softs, setting a time of 1m25.038s.

However, the soft tyre phase mirrored the opening part of the session with the Mercedes drivers powering ahead when they too bolted on the soft tyres.

Hamilton logged a time of 1:24.279 on his opening lap and then failed to improve on his second tour but after his first lap left him two hundredths of a second in arrears he seemed set to take top spot with two quick opening sectors on his second lap. However, he lost time through Parabolica and had to settle for P2.

Vettel repeated his third place of the morning but this time he closed to 0.759s behind Hamilton. The German finished 1400ths of a second ahead of Force India’s Sergio Perez, who was four hundredths of a second ahead of team-mate Hulkenberg.

Ferrari were the only non-Mercedes-powered team in the top with Räikkönen taking sixth place ahead of the Lotus cars of Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado, who were backed up by the Williams duo of Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa.

It was a difficult afternoon for Red Bull Racing, however. Daniil Kvyat spent part of the session on the garage aas the team rectified a gearbox issue from the morning and afterwards spent most of his session on medium tyres and was slowest as the team, which is set to take engine-related grid penalties this weekend chose to focus on race preparation.

Team-mate Daniel Riccairdo hit trouble too, wioth the Australian forced back to the pits with a hydraulic problems caused by his DRS.

2015 Italian Grand Prix – Free Practice 2
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:24.279 27
2 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:24.300 0.021 35
3 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:25.038 0.759 36
4 Sergio Perez Force India 1:25.278 0.999 34
5 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1:25.325 1.046 43
6 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:25.380 1.101 39
7 Romain Grosjean Lotus 1:25.497 1.218 41
8 Pastor Maldonado Lotus 1:25.513 1.234 41
9 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:25.647 1.368 34
10 Felipe Massa Williams 1:25.891 1.612 31
11 Felipe Nasr Sauber 1:26.114 1.835 30
12 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 1:26.133 1.854 32
13 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Racing 1:26.222 1.943 27
14 Max Verstappen Toro Rosso 1:26.454 2.175 38
15 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso 1:26.641 2.362 50
16 Fernando Alonso McLaren 1:26.966 2.687 31
17 Will Stevens Marussia 1:28.201 3.922 29
18 Roberto Merhi Marussia 1:28.439 4.160 27
19 Jenson Button McLaren 1:28.471 4.192 3
20 Daniil Kvyat Red Bull Racing 1:28.723 4.444


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