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Formula 1

Bottas tops first Italian GP practice as Verstappen crashes

by Jack Benyon
4 min read

Valtteri Bottas kicked off the Italian Grand Prix weekend at Monza by heading Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton in FP1.

The Mercedes split the early running, with Hamilton doing his initial lapping on the harder tyre and Bottas on the medium.

The pair topped the session before the red flag caused by a Max Verstappen crash just under an hour to go, and returned to improve with the 30-plus minutes remaining when the action resumed.

Despite having a tow from Bottas, Hamilton lost time in the second sector and trailed Bottas’s soft-tyre session benchmark by 0.245s. It was an almost flawless session from the Finn, a mistake at Turn 1 where he appeared to damage his front wing very early in the session his only real blemish.

Alex Albon went third-fastest, despite struggling earlier in the session. He was the first car to set a representative lap which was promptly deleted for a track limits infringement, a running theme of the session as many lost laps on the board.

He asked the team for help in Turn 4 with what he called “random” oversteer, but corrected that and delivered the third-fastest time on the soft tyre after the red flag.

Verstappen had brought out the red flag when he lost the rear of the Red Bull through the right-hand part of the Ascari complex with just under an hour to go.

Motor Racing Formula One World Championship Italian Grand Prix Practice Day Monza, Italy

His car nosed the barrier at the corner exit but Verstappen was able to recover his RB16 and bring it back to the pits where a new front wing was affixed and repairs made.

Once that was done, his soft-tyre run yielded the fifth-fastest time, beaten by AlphaTauri driver Daniil Kvyat, who also completed the highest number of laps with 31.

Having impressed in recent races, AlphaTauri had a strong session as Kvyat was backed up by Pierre Gasly who managed sixth-fastest, both drivers using the harder medium tyre as opposed to the soft-shod runners ahead.

Gasly managed to avoid delaying the end of the session as he escaped the gravel trap at the della Roggia chicane within the last few minutes.

Sergio Perez led the Racing Points, as he spent part of the last 30 minutes in the pits making planned changes to his car. He was by far the best of the team as Lance Stroll could only manage the 13th-best time.

Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz took eighth and 10th, splitting the top Renault of Daniel Ricciardo.

Norris and Sainz used the soft tyre, with Sainz powered by the engine that failed to start last weekend’s race at Spa due to a reported sensor issue, which had caused problems in the exhaust also.

Fresh off the back of a best points haul since its full return to F1 in 2016, Renault breached the top 10 with Ricciardo on the medium tyre.

The team is expected to be just as competitive as at Spa, but had a quiet start to the weekend in terms of the timing screens with Ocon 12th.

Just ahead of the Frenchman, Charles Leclerc delivered Ferrari’s best time. His lap came on the medium tyres as Ferrari was another team not to bolt on the soft tyres for its best laps, the other car of Sebastian Vettel down in 19th.

Romain Grosjean led the Haas/Alfa Romeo battle in 14th ahead of team-mate Kevin Magnussen.

Both Haas cars used the soft rubber, while Alfa’s Antonio Giovinazzi and Kimi Raikkonen set their 16th- and 17th-fastest times respectively on the medium.

Roy Nissany delivered the 18th fastest time as the best Williams, in a car that received new combustion engine, turbocharger and MGU-H for George Russell to take over later in the weekend.

Nicholas Latifi was 20th and last, the Williams cars sandwiching Vettel in what is the last event for the Williams family before it leaves F1 after selling the team.

Practice 1 Results

Pos Name Car Best Time Gap Leader
1 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1m20.703s
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m20.948s +0.245s
3 Alex Albon Red Bull-Honda 1m21.5s +0.797s
4 Daniil Kvyat AlphaTauri-Honda 1m21.555s +0.852s
5 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda 1m21.641s +0.938s
6 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri-Honda 1m21.667s +0.964s
7 Sergio Pérez Racing Point-Mercedes 1m21.747s +1.044s
8 Lando Norris McLaren-Renault 1m21.747s +1.044s
9 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 1m21.789s +1.086s
10 Carlos Sainz McLaren-Renault 1m21.821s +1.118s
11 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1m21.904s +1.201s
12 Esteban Ocon Renault 1m21.984s +1.281s
13 Lance Stroll Racing Point-Mercedes 1m22.131s +1.428s
14 Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari 1m22.409s +1.706s
15 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 1m22.422s +1.719s
16 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1m22.552s +1.849s
17 Kimi Räikkönen Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1m22.619s +1.916s
18 Roy Nissany Williams-Mercedes 1m22.826s +2.123s
19 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m22.988s +2.285s
20 Nicholas Latifi Williams-Mercedes 1m23.12s +2.417s
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