Last year’s Italian Grand Prix winner Max Verstappen set the benchmark in the opening practice at Monza, narrowly beating Ferrari’s one-time F1race winner Carlos Sainz. F1Technical’s senior writer Balazs Szabo reports from the Monza paddock,
With Pirelli reintroducing the alternative tyre allocation that heavily limits drivers’ run plans, the majority of the field opted for the durable hard compound for the opening practice session in order to complete consistent running.
The double champion used the hard compound all through session to set a 1m22.657s which was enough to beat Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz, who set the second fastest lap time on the same compound.
Sergio Perez displayed much more encouraging pace in the second Red Bull, taking the third place ahead of Charles Leclerc with both the Mexican and the Monegasque driver using the white-walled Pirelli tyres.
Mercedes had a seemingly low-key start to their weekend, but the Silver Arrows appear to have more pace than expected before the Monza race weekend. George Russell struggled for pace in the opening part of the one-hour session, but he managed to climb himself up to P5 in the standings, half a second adrift of Verstappen’s benchmark.
His teammate Lewis Hamilton displayed great pace early on, but he was unable to improve his time when the track started to offer more grip. However, his high-fuel run in the closing stages of the session was highly convincing.
After completing some test runs in the early part of the session, double world champion Fernando Alonso set the sixth best time on the medium compound.
His teammate Lance Stroll sat out the session with the team’s reserve driver Felipe Drugovich getting behind the other Aston Martin. The reigning F2 champion took 18th with Haas driver Kevin Magnussen and Alfa Romeo racer Zhou rounding out the leaderboard.
|1||1||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing Honda Rbpt||1:22.657||30|
|3||11||Sergio Perez||Red Bull Racing Honda Rbpt||1:22.834||+0.177s||29|
|6||14||Fernando Alonso||Aston Martin Aramco Mercedes||1:23.214||+0.557s||23|
|7||4||Lando Norris||Mclaren Mercedes||1:23.241||+0.584s||21|
|9||22||Yuki Tsunoda||Alphatauri Honda Rbpt||1:23.271||+0.614s||22|
|10||23||Alexander Albon||Williams Mercedes||1:23.444||+0.787s||17|
|11||81||Oscar Piastri||Mclaren Mercedes||1:23.446||+0.789s||23|
|12||2||Logan Sargeant||Williams Mercedes||1:23.661||+1.004s||20|
|13||40||Liam Lawson||Alphatauri Honda Rbpt||1:23.833||+1.176s||28|
|14||10||Pierre Gasly||Alpine Renault||1:23.931||+1.274s||25|
|15||77||Valtteri Bottas||Alfa Romeo Ferrari||1:23.952||+1.295s||16|
|16||27||Nico Hulkenberg||Haas Ferrari||1:24.067||+1.410s||22|
|17||31||Esteban Ocon||Alpine Renault||1:24.090||+1.433s||25|
|18||34||Felipe Drugovich||Aston Martin Aramco Mercedes||1:24.140||+1.483s||23|
|19||20||Kevin Magnussen||Haas Ferrari||1:24.217||+1.560s||23|
|20||24||Zhou Guanyu||Alfa Romeo Ferrari||1:24.232||+1.575s||16|