Sebastian Vettel eclipsed Ferrari team-mate Kimi Räikkönen by almost three tenths of a second to top a second practice session for the Italian Grand Prix that saw a Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson emerge unhurt for a heavy, high-speed crash.
Just two minutes after the green light had appeared at the end of pit lane to signal the start of the session, Ericsson crashed out. At the start of his first flying lap the Swede’s Sauber snapped to the left under braking on the approach to Turn 1 after his DRS failed to close.
His car spun into the barrier and then dug into the grass at the edge of the track. That sent him into a frightening barrel roll. Ericsson’s car eventually came to rest the right way up and he was able to climb out. He was swiftly taken to the medical centre where he was later given the all-clear.
The crash brought out the red flags and there was a 20-minute delay as Ericsson’s wrecked car was removed and the debris cleared from the track.
When running resumed, Vettel was quickly to the fore, the German posting a time of 1:21.716s on supersofts. That put him 0.157s ahead of head team-mate Kimi Räikkönen who was using soft compound Pirelli rubber.
When the field undertook their qualifying simulations, Vettel, who was forced to abandon his first hot lap after running wide at Parabolica, was outpaced by Räikkönen who took top spot with a lap of 1:21.375.
Vettel continued to push and on his fourth attempt jumped ahead of his team-mate to take the P1 slot with a time of 1m21.105s. Räikkönen finished the session 0.270s behind his team-mate.
Third place in the session went to Vettel’s title rival Lewis Hamilton. The championship-leading Mercedes driver finished just 0.017s behind Räikkönen, with the Briton’s team-mate, Valtteri Bottas, four tenths of a second further back.
Fifth and sixth places the session were taken by Red Bull Racing drivers Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo, with Dutchman Verstappen edging his Australian team-mate by 0.142s. Both men were over a second off the pace set by Vettel.
Behind Ricciardo there was then a gap of more than six tenths of a second to best of the rest Racing Point Force India driver Esteban Ocon. The Frenchman finished the session 1.825s off the pace and 0.012s ahead of eighth-placed teammate Sergio Pérez.
Sauber’s Charles Leclerc claimed ninth place with a late qualifying sim after his session was delayed by similar DRS problems to those suffered by his team-mate. Leclerc conducted two tests of his car’s drag reduction system after the restart but on both occasions the wing failed to open. Sauber eventually rectified the problem and in all he was able to complete 20 laps. Tenth place in the session went to Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg.
2018 Formula 1 Italian Grand Prix – Free Practice 2
1 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 27 1:21.105
2 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 31 1:21.375 0.270
3 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 31 1:21.392 0.287
4 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 35 1:21.803 0.698
5 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing 28 1:22.154 1.049
6 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Racing 28 1:22.296 1.191
7 Esteban Ocon Force India 30 1:22.930 1.825
8 Sergio Perez Force India 32 1:22.942 1.837
9 Charles Leclerc Sauber 20 1:22.965 1.860
10 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 30 1:23.063 1.958
11 Romain Grosjean Haas 31 1:23.077 1.972
12 Carlos Sainz Renault 32 1:23.193 2.088
13 Kevin Magnussen Haas 28 1:23.233 2.128
14 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso 34 1:23.402 2.297
15 Sergey Sirotkin Williams 28 1:23.514 2.409
16 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso 16 1:23.531 2.426
17 Lance Stroll Williams 29 1:23.566 2.461
18 Fernando Alonso McLaren 23 1:23.741 2.636
19 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren 30 1:24.084 2.979
20 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 2