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 F1 Team MCL35||1:20.318||+ 0.229||14|
|3.||Lando Norris||McLaren F1 Team MCL35||1:20.412||+ 0.323||15|
|4.||Daniel Ricciardo||Renault F1 Team R.S.20||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||1:20.693||+ 0.604||13|
|9.||Lance Stroll||Racing Point F1 Team RP20||1:20.804||+ 0.715||14|
|10.||Sergio Pérez||Racing Point F1 Team RP20||1:20.897||+ 0.808||13|
|11.||Charles Leclerc||Scuderia Ferrari SF1000||1:20.917||+ 0.828||11|
|12.||Pierre Gasly||Scuderia AlfaTauri AT01||1:20.936||+ 0.847||14|
|13.||Daniil Kvyat||Scuderia AlfaTauri AT01||1:20.953||+ 0.864||13|
|14.||Romain Grosjean||Haas F1 Team VF-20||1:21.205||+ 1.116||14|
|15.||Sebastian Vettel||Scuderia Ferrari SF1000||1:21.263||+ 1.174||13|
|16.||Kevin Magnussen||Haas F1 Team VF-20||1:21.436||+ 1.347||15|
|17.||Kimi Räikkönen||Alfa Romeo Racing C39||1:21.459||+ 1.370||15|
|18.||George Russell||Williams Racing FW43||1:21.677||+ 1.588||16|
|19.||Nicholas Latifi||Williams Racing FW43||1:21.764||+ 1.675||15|
|20.||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo Racing C39||1:22.090||+ 2.001||15|
Image via Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team
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