Mercedes continued where it left off yesterday by topping the second and final practice for the Italian Grand Prix. Ferrari's Carlos Sainz brought out the red flags midway through the practice at Monza after a big crash at the Ascari chicane.
Mercedes has been looking dominant since the lights switched to green yesterday in Free Practice 1. The W12 seems to enjoy the unique characteristics of the Autodromo Nazionale Monza which is best-known for its flat-out straights preceded by heavy braking areas, but with some slower and more technical sections as well. The main reason for this competitve advantage is the suspected power advantage of the Mercedes hybrid power unit, which has been quite significant since the early part of summer.
The Italian Grand Prix weekend features the special Sprint Qualifying format that was introduced earlier at Silverstone. Just as it was at the British Grand Prix, the schedule is extremly intensive with only a single practice proceeding the qualifying session which took place yesterday.
After Valtteri Bottas put his Mercedes W12 into the best starting position for today’s sprint qualifying race, drivers had another 60-minute session to fine-tune their setup and analyse the behaviour of Pirelli’s C2, C3 and C4 compounds that have been chosen for the Italian tyre supplier’s home race. With parc fermé rules having been in effect since qualifying, drivers and engineers had only a limited amount of opportunities to tweak the cars for the rest of the weekend.
The session saw Lewis Hamilton set the fastest time in final practice after completing eye-catching long runs on a range of compounds. The Mercedes driver was followed by team mate Valtteri Bottas and Red Bull's Max Verstappen in P3.
The session was interrupted midway through the session after Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz sustained a big crash at the Ascari chicane. The Spaniard lost the back end of the car as he accelerated out of the second part of the corner and speared left into the barriers in what was a heavy impact.
Alpine did not perform well yesterday, but they appeared in the top ten today with Esteban Ocon finishing 5th and Fernando ALonso taking 8th. Another standout performance was delivered by the Alfa Romeo’s duo. Robert Kubica, who is deputizing for Kimi Räikkönen for the second consecutive weekend, ended up in P6 with his Italian team mate Antonio Giovinazzi setting the 7th fastest lap.
The fight for third place in the Constructors’ Championship is set to continue between Ferrari and McLaren with the British squad enjoying a competitive advantage over its Italian rival at Monza due to the power advantage provided by the Mercedes hybrid power units. Both teams spent the final practice in the middle part of the field with Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo ending up 10th and 12th fastest while Charles Leclerc was sandwiched in between them.
Despite promising pace in FP1, Aston Martin failed to get their cars into Q3 yesterday, and they continued their low-key form today with Lance Stroll ending up in P17 and Sebastian Vettel following in P18. Mick Schumacher followed, 19th in FP2, while Sainz duly took last-place after his crash.
|3||33||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing Honda||1:23.662||+0.416s||23|
|4||11||Sergio Perez||Red Bull Racing Honda||1:23.917||+0.671s||29|
|5||31||Esteban Ocon||Alpine Renault||1:24.263||+1.017s||20|
|6||88||Robert Kubica||Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari||1:24.280||+1.034s||28|
|7||99||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari||1:24.502||+1.256s||26|
|8||14||Fernando Alonso||Alpine Renault||1:24.539||+1.293s||16|
|9||10||Pierre Gasly||Alphatauri Honda||1:24.654||+1.408s||24|
|10||4||Lando Norris||Mclaren Mercedes||1:24.665||+1.419s||27|
|12||3||Daniel Ricciardo||Mclaren Mercedes||1:24.774||+1.528s||24|
|13||6||Nicholas Latifi||Williams Mercedes||1:24.805||+1.559s||23|
|14||63||George Russell||Williams Mercedes||1:25.083||+1.837s||22|
|15||22||Yuki Tsunoda||Alphatauri Honda||1:25.422||+2.176s||32|
|16||9||Nikita Mazepin||Haas Ferrari||1:25.729||+2.483s||23|
|17||18||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin Mercedes||1:25.763||+2.517s||28|
|18||5||Sebastian Vettel||Aston Martin Mercedes||1:25.935||+2.689s||28|
|19||47||Mick Schumacher||Haas Ferrari||1:26.012||+2.766s||25|