Valtteri Bottas kept Mercedes-AMG at the top of the practice timesheets in the final unofficial hit-out at Monza before qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix this afternoon.

The Finn survived a session featuring plenty of slipstreaming action and near-misses for his rivals, finishing ahead of the two McLarens of Carlos Sainz Jr and Lando Norris.

Bottas posted a very impressive 1:20.089 flying lap and explored the limits of the Autodromo Nazionale Monza layout in a session where a number of his rivals fell foul of the FIA’s clampdown on track limits.

He wound up a little under a quarter of a second clear of a very impressive Sainz, who put in a late lap to claim second place on the timesheets with teammate Lando Norris third-fastest.

Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo – whose deletion of his flying lap time in FP2 cost him a potential top-five position – ran fourth-fastest, but his session ended in frustration with ten minutes on the clock when his RS20 ground to a halt with a suspected fuel pump failure.  The Australian is already running with a new power unit this weekend, and his stoppage drew fears that his participation in qualifying could be in doubt.

Fastest in FP2, Lewis Hamilton could only manage fifth-fastest in the final session with a time 0.35 seconds off his teammate’s best.  The Englishman’s session nearly ended in an accident after a heart-stopping jink onto the grass approaching the Parabolica when he came across much slower traffic.

The FIA had mandated a maximum lap time in a bid to reduce the risks of high approaching speeds, but practically the entire field ignored the directive on at least one occasion during the session. Eight drivers found themselves summoned to the FIA Stewards for driving too slowly, however all were let off without punishment.

Max Verstappen was sixth-fastest in his Red Bull Racing Honda, posting his fastest lap on the medium compound tyres.  While the rubber would be preferred as the compound on which to start tomorrow’s 53-lap race, it would appear only Mercedes-AMG has the outright pace to gamble on that rubber in qualifying.

Verstappen finished one spot ahead of his teammate Alexander Albon, while Esteban Ocon in the second Renault was eighth-fastest ahead of the Racing Point Mercedes duo of Lance Stroll and Sergio Pérez.  Defending Italian Grand Prix winner Charles Leclerc was only eleventh-fastest, while Ferrari teammate Sebastian Vettel was fourteenth.

Neither AlphaTauri driver could repeat their top-ten form from Friday, although both Daniil Kvyat and Pierre Gasly managed to lap within one second of Bottas en route to placing eleventh and twelfth respectively.


FORMULA 1 GRAN PREMIO HEINEKEN D’ITALIA 2020 – FREE PRACTICE SESSION 2
Driver Team / Entry Time Gap Laps
1. Valtteri Bottas Mercedes-AMG F1 Team W11 1:20.089 14
2. Carlos Sainz Jr. McLaren Logo 2020 McLaren F1 Team MCL35 Renault Logo 2020 1:20.318 + 0.229 14
3. Lando Norris McLaren Logo 2020 McLaren F1 Team MCL35 Renault Logo 2020 1:20.412 + 0.323 15
4. Daniel Ricciardo Renault F1 Team R.S.20 Renault Logo 2020 1:20.419 + 0.330 9
5. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes-AMG F1 Team W11 1:20.439 + 0.350 11
6. Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing RB16 1:20.456 + 0.367 15
7. Alexander Albon Red Bull Racing RB16 1:20.563 + 0.474 15
8. Esteban Ocon Renault F1 Team R.S.20 Renault Logo 2020 1:20.693 + 0.604 13
9. Lance Stroll Racing Point Logo 2020 Racing Point F1 Team RP20 1:20.804 + 0.715 14
10. Sergio Pérez Racing Point Logo 2020 Racing Point F1 Team RP20 1:20.897 + 0.808 13
11. Charles Leclerc Scuderia Ferrari SF1000 Ferrari Logo 2020 1:20.917 + 0.828 11
12. Pierre Gasly Scuderia AlfaTauri Logo 2020 Scuderia AlfaTauri AT01 1:20.936 + 0.847 14
13. Daniil Kvyat Scuderia AlfaTauri Logo 2020 Scuderia AlfaTauri AT01 1:20.953 + 0.864 13
14. Romain Grosjean Haas F1 Team Logo 2020 Haas F1 Team VF-20 Ferrari Logo 2020 1:21.205 + 1.116 14
15. Sebastian Vettel Scuderia Ferrari SF1000 Ferrari Logo 2020 1:21.263 + 1.174 13
16. Kevin Magnussen Haas F1 Team Logo 2020 Haas F1 Team VF-20 Ferrari Logo 2020 1:21.436 + 1.347 15
17. Kimi Räikkönen Alfa Romeo Racing Logo 2020 Alfa Romeo Racing C39 Ferrari Logo 2020 1:21.459 + 1.370 15
18. George Russell Williams Racing Logo 2020 Williams Racing FW43 1:21.677 + 1.588 16
19. Nicholas Latifi Williams Racing Logo 2020 Williams Racing FW43 1:21.764 + 1.675 15
20. Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo Racing Logo 2020 Alfa Romeo Racing C39 Ferrari Logo 2020 1:22.090 + 2.001 15

Image via Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.

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