A largely wet opening practice session at the Italian Grand Prix proved rather inconclusive in determining an early pecking order at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza.
A late lap on Medium compound tyres proved good enough to put Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc on top of the timesheets, continuing the Ferrari driver’s unbeaten stretch of topping every session since FP2 at the preceding Belgian Grand Prix.
The early running on the session came on the wet Pirelli tyres, but with the threat of further rain easing the field switched to the intermediate rubber. Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas proved the quickest driver during this phase of the session, clocking a 1:30.596 lap time.
The track had dried enough for a handful of runners to attempt some laps on the available dry-weather tyres, and it was in the final minutes that Leclerc moved to the top of the timesheets. The Monégasque driver clocked a 1:27.905 to head the field.
Behind him was the McLaren duo of Carlos Sainz Jr. and Lance Stroll, with the pair clocking the Woking team’s most competitive showing in a session this year – on paper, at least. Sainz was the quicker of the pair, three-tenths of a second slower than Leclerc. woth he and Norris both posting their fastest times on the soft-compound rubber.
Championship leader Lewis Hamilton finished fourth-fastest in his Mercedes, however the British driver would likely have been further up the order if he’d been able to get a clean lap. After taking to slicks, he spun at the first chicane.
Red Bull Racing newcomer Alexander Albon finished fifth-fastest, ahead of teammate Max Verstappen in seventh, with the pair split by Albon’s former teammate Daniil Kvyat in the Toro Rosso Honda.
Sebastian Vettel was eighth-fastest in the second Ferrari, over 2.6 seconds slower than teammate Leclerc, with Bottas in ninth and Pierre Gasly (who had a spin at the Ascari chicane) completing the top ten in the second Toro Rosso.
A one-off Italian Grand Prix tribute livery did not help Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Räikkönen. The Finn was caught out in the slippery conditions early in the session, sliding into the Parabolica gravel trap and out of the session to trigger an early red flag interruption.
Racing Point’s Sergio Pérez also came to grief on the greasy track surface, losing control of his car as he exited the Ascari chicane. He damaged both ends of his car against the barriers, with the hit at the rear causing concern that the Mexican might face a grid penalty should he be forced to change his gearbox.
|FORMULA 1 GRAN PREMIO HEINEKEN D’ITALIA 2019 – FREE PRACTICE SESSION 1|
|Driver||Team / Entry||Time||Gap||Laps|
|1.||Charles Leclerc||Scuderia Ferrari SF90||1:27.905||20|
|2.||Carlos Sainz Jr.||McLaren F1 Team MCL34||1:28.211||+ 0.306||25|
|3.||Lando Norris||McLaren F1 Team MCL34||1:28.450||+ 0.545||23|
|4.||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes-AMG Motorsport W10||1:28.730||+ 0.825||11|
|5.||Alexander Albon||Red Bull Racing RB15||1:29.025||+ 1.120||19|
|6.||Daniil Kvyat||Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda STR14||1:29.960||+ 2.055||25|
|7.||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing RB15||1:30.100||+ 2.195||11|
|8.||Sebastian Vettel||Scuderia Ferrari SF90||1:30.507||+ 2.602||19|
|9.||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes-AMG Motorsport W10||1:30.596||+ 2.691||11|
|10.||Pierre Gasly||Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda STR14||1:30.695||+ 2.790||26|
|11.||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo Racing C38||1:32.848||+ 4.943||22|
|12.||Lance Stroll||Racing Point F1 Team RP19||1:33.976||+ 6.071||9|
|13.||Daniel Ricciardo||Renault F1 Team RS19||1:34.528||+ 6.623||10|
|14.||Kevin Magnussen||Haas F1 Team VF-19||1:34.715||+ 6.810||7|
|15.||Nico Hülkenberg||Renault F1 Team RS19||1:35.133||+ 7.228||10|
|16.||Romain Grosjean||Haas F1 Team VF-19||1:35.980||+ 8.075||7|
|17.||Robert Kubica||ROKiT Williams Racing FW42||1:37.816||+ 9.911||12|
|18.||George Russell||ROKiT Williams Racing FW42||1:38.421||+ 10.516||12|
|19.||Sergio Pérez||Racing Point F1 Team RP19||no time||4|
|20.||Kimi Räikkönen||Alfa Romeo Racing C38||no time||4|
Image via Scuderia Ferrari