A wet weather affected opening practice session for the Italian Formula 1 Grand Prix delivered little in the way of track action, but Force India’s Sergio Pérez was eventually able to take advantage of an emerging dry line to post the fastest time of the session.
The Mexican driver kept his powder dry and as the chequered flag was being unfurled at the end of the 90-minute session he clocked a time of 1:34.000 to move to the top of the timesheets, half a second clear of Ferrari’s Kimi Räikkönen. Pérez’s teammate Esteban Ocon finished third-fastest, ending the first run of track action on a positive note for the Silverstone team after its impressive showing last weekend in Belgium.
The damp track conditions allowed a number of other midfield runners to hit comparatively giddy heights on the timesheets. The Toro Rosso pairing of Brendon Hartley and Pierre Gasly finished fourth- and sixth-fastest respectively, sandwiching the Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo.
Ricciardo will take a rear of the grid start as a result of switching to Renault’s upgraded ‘Spec C’ power unit, but worryingly for the Australian he reported a problem with the new engine just minutes into the session which was later diagnosed as a minor software glitch.
His teammate Max Verstappen finished the session seventh-fastest – despite a half-spin at the Parabolica among a number of off-track moments for the Dutch driver – with Renault duo Carlos Sainz Jr. and Nico Hülkenberg eighth and ninth fastest.
Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas and championship leading teammate Lewis Hamilton were tenth and eleventh-fastest after clocking barely a handful of laps between them.
Räikkönen comfortably led the field from a mileage perspective, running a total of 28 laps during the session en route to finishing second-fastest. It was a mixed session for the Ferrari team, however, as Sebastian Vettel posted just four laps before suffering an apparent hydraulics leak. The team opted to use the rest of the session to change his gearbox and will be hoping that the German will be able to make up for lost track time in this afternoon’s second practice session, which takes place at 15:00 local time (GMT +2).
|FORMULA 1 GRAN PREMIO HEINEKEN D’ITALIA 2018 – FREE PRACTICE SESSION 1 TIMES|
|Driver||Team / Entry||Time||Gap||Laps|
|1.||Sergio Pérez||Force India F1 Team Mercedes VJM11||1:34.000||18|
|2.||Kimi Räikkönen||Scuderia Ferrari SF71H||1:34.550||+ 0.550||28|
|3.||Esteban Ocon||Force India F1 Team Mercedes VJM11||1:34.593||+ 0.593||17|
|4.||Brendon Hartley||Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda STR13||1:35.024||+ 1.024||17|
|5.||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull Racing TAG Heuer RB14||1:35.207||+ 1.207||13|
|6.||Pierre Gasly||Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda STR13||1:35.438||+ 1.438||19|
|7.||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing TAG Heuer RB14||1:35.665||+ 1.665||10|
|8.||Carlos Sainz Jr||Renault Sport F1 Team RS18||1:35.995||+ 1.995||15|
|9.||Nico Hülkenberg||Renault Sport F1 Team RS18||1:36.107||+ 2.107||15|
|10.||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport F1W09||1:36.238||+ 2.238||8|
|11.||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport F1W09||1:36.546||+ 2.546||6|
|12.||Charles Leclerc||Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C37||1:36.648||+ 2.648||10|
|13.||Kevin Magnussen||Haas F1 Team Ferrari VF-18||1:37.066||+ 3.066||13|
|14.||Fernando Alonso||McLaren F1 Team Renault MCL33||1:37.426||+ 3.426||14|
|15.||Romain Grosjean||Haas F1 Team Ferrari VF-18||1:37.683||+ 3.683||13|
|16.||Marcus Ericsson||Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C37||1:37.790||+ 3.790||11|
|17.||Sebastian Vettel||Scuderia Ferrari SF71H||1:37.867||+ 3.867||4|
|18.||Sergey Sirotkin||Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW41||1:37.929||+ 3.929||10|
|19.||Lance Stroll||Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW41||1:38.253||+ 4.253||8|
|20.||Landon Norris||McLaren F1 Team Renault MCL33||1:38.282||+ 4.282||9|
Image via Channel 4 F1
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