FP1: Leclerc leads Ferrari 1-2 in opening practice at Monza

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Italy, Autodromo Nazionale di Monzait

Following an ominous run on the hard compound from Max Verstappen, Ferrari's Charles Leclerc set the benchmark in the opening practice for the Italian Grand Prix, leading his team mate Carlos Sainz. F1Technical's Balázs Szabó reports from the Monza paddock.

After struggling for pace on Pirelli’s hard compound, Leclerc set the benchmark of 1m 22.410s on the red-walled soft compound to beat his team mate Sainz by just under a tenth f a second. Mercedes driver George Russell and Lewis Hamilton ended up third and fourth fastest to demonstrate the improving pace of their constantly evolving car.

Max Verstappen was blindingly quick on the white-banded hard compound, and was on course to top the session, but he was caught behind Lando Norris in the final sector, meaning that he could not demonstrate the full potential of his RB18. The Dutchman will be handed a five-place grid penalty for Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix after taking a fresh internal combustion engine.

The reigning champion’s team mate Sergio Perez struggled for pace both on the hard and the soft compound, and finished the opening session down in P14.

Alpine was expected to go well around the high-speed circuit of Monza, and its drivers Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso did not fail to confirm those expectations. The Frenchman and the Spaniard ended up sixth and seventh fastest in Free Practice 1.

AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda took 8th, showing impressive speed on the soft compound. However, the Japanese looks set to have a difficult weekend after receiving five reprimands which will result in a ten-place grid drop on Sunday. His team mate Pierre Gasly, who took his maiden F1 victory at the Temple of Speed in 2020, took 13th.

McLaren appeared to be off the pace in the opening practice, but that was not unexpected given the strengths and weaknesses of McLaren’s 2022 car. Daniel Ricciardo, who won last year’s Italian Grand Prix, ended up tenth fastest with his team mate Lando Norris languishing down in P16.

There were changes at Haas Ferrari as well with Antonio Giovinazzi taking over Mick Schumacher’s car for the first practice. The Italian ended up in P18 with Kevin Magnussen finishing just a place ahead of the former F1 driver.

Nyck De Vries – subbing in for Sebastian Vettel at Aston Martin –set a time good enough for 19th with the team’s Canadian race driver Lance Stroll taking 15th.


116Charles LeclercFerrari1:22.41025
255Carlos SainzFerrari1:22.487+0.077s23
363George RussellMercedes1:22.689+0.279s27
444Lewis HamiltonMercedes1:22.831+0.421s24
51Max VerstappenRed Bull Racing Rbpt1:22.840+0.430s27
631Esteban OconAlpine Renault1:23.075+0.665s28
714Fernando AlonsoAlpine Renault1:23.099+0.689s26
822Yuki TsunodaAlphatauri Rbpt1:23.260+0.850s26
977Valtteri BottasAlfa Romeo Ferrari1:23.394+0.984s27
103Daniel RicciardoMclaren Mercedes1:23.511+1.101s26
1123Alexander AlbonWilliams Mercedes1:23.529+1.119s24
1224Zhou GuanyuAlfa Romeo Ferrari1:23.570+1.160s28
1310Pierre GaslyAlphatauri Rbpt1:23.640+1.230s27
1411Sergio PerezRed Bull Racing Rbpt1:23.661+1.251s21
1518Lance StrollAston Martin Aramco Mercedes1:23.688+1.278s28
164Lando NorrisMclaren Mercedes1:23.856+1.446s27
1720Kevin MagnussenHaas Ferrari1:24.006+1.596s24
1899Antonio GiovinazziHaas Ferrari1:24.317+1.907s25
1934Nyck De VriesAston Martin Aramco Mercedes1:24.731+2.321s22
206Nicholas LatifiWilliams Mercedes1:24.941+2.531s24