The rain refused to abate at the Italian Grand Prix, but that didn’t stop Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc from delighting the partisan local crowd as Friday practice drew to a close.
The Ferrari driver was once again quickest at Scuderia Ferrari’s home track, although he was pushed hard by Mercedes-AMG’s Lewis Hamilton. The championship leader effectively used a slipstream from teammate Valtteri Bottas to leap into second place on the timesheets, just 0.068 seconds adrift of Leclerc’s best time.
With rain forecast to his the Monza circuit late in the session, the 20-car field hit the track early to get as much set-up mileage as possible. The Mercedes’ of Hamilton and Bottas were the early pace-setters on the medium compound Pirelli tyres, with the pair split by just seven-hundredths of a second.
Leclerc started his session on the hard tyres, but a subsequent switch to the soft rubber saw him vault to the top of the timesheets with a 1:20.978 effort that would ultimately prove unbeatable. Teammate Sebastian Vettel was two-tenths of a second slower, giving the Ferrari team a 1-2 result on the timesheets until Hamilton’s late effort.
The rain arrived as forecast thirty minutes into the session, forcing the field to return to the pits while it abated.
A few drivers braved the conditions, and once the rain had cleared the track dried quickly enough to allow a late return to dry-tyre running. It as during this phase of the session that Hamilton moved into second place on the timing screens while teammate Bottas slotted into fourth.
Max Verstappen finished the session fifth-fastest for Red Bull Racing, with the Dutchman trying out Honda’s ‘Spec 4’ upgrade for the first time which will see him start Sunday’s race from the back of the grid. Teammate Alexander Albon was sixth-fastest in a promising session for the team, while Verstappen’s former teammate Pierre Gasly was a solid seventh-fastest in his Toro Rosso.
The top ten was completed by Haas’ Romain Grosjean, Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat in the second Toro Rosso.
After being third-fastest in FP1, McLaren’s Lando Norris could only putpace the two Williams’ this time around. An oil leak in his McLaren kept him confined to the pits for much of the session before he was eventually able to emerge onto the circuit in the final fifteen minutes.
|FORMULA 1 GRAN PREMIO HEINEKEN D’ITALIA 2019 – FREE PRACTICE SESSION 2|
|Driver||Team / Entry||Time||Gap||Laps|
|1.||Charles Leclerc||Scuderia Ferrari SF90||1:20.978||37|
|2.||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes-AMG Motorsport W10||1:21.046||+ 0.068||32|
|3.||Sebastian Vettel||Scuderia Ferrari SF90||1:21.179||+ 0.201||39|
|4.||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes-AMG Motorsport W10||1:21.347||+ 0.369||34|
|5.||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing RB15||1:21.350||+ 0.372||29|
|6.||Alexander Albon||Red Bull Racing RB15||1:21.589||+ 0.611||30|
|7.||Pierre Gasly||Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda STR14||1:22.124||+ 1.146||42|
|8.||Romain Grosjean||Haas F1 Team VF-19||1:22.153||+ 1.175||44|
|9.||Daniel Ricciardo||Renault F1 Team RS19||1:22.249||+ 1.271||36|
|10.||Daniil Kvyat||Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda STR14||1:22.260||+ 1.282||37|
|11.||Nico Hülkenberg||Renault F1 Team RS19||1:22.338||+ 1.360||37|
|12.||Carlos Sainz Jr.||McLaren F1 Team MCL34||1:22.482||+ 1.504||32|
|13.||Kevin Magnussen||Haas F1 Team VF-19||1:22.511||+ 1.533||42|
|14.||Kimi Räikkönen||Alfa Romeo Racing C38||1:22.523||+ 1.545||35|
|15.||Lance Stroll||Racing Point F1 Team RP19||1:22.706||+ 1.728||32|
|16.||Sergio Pérez||Racing Point F1 Team RP19||1:22.882||+ 1.904||33|
|17.||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo Racing C38||1:23.065||+ 2.087||35|
|18.||Lando Norris||McLaren F1 Team MCL34||1:23.561||+ 2.583||16|
|19.||Robert Kubica||ROKiT Williams Racing FW42||1:23.737||+ 2.759||29|
|20.||George Russell||ROKiT Williams Racing FW42||1:24.313||+ 3.335||23|
Image via Scuderia Ferrari