Italian Grand Prix 2017: Mercedes wipe out Ferrari in Friday practice
RealSport brings you highlights from Monza as Friday practice unfolded.
The track action in Italy began in grey and gloomy weather. Ferrari, who are celebrating their 70th anniversary at Monza this weekend, came to Italy with high hopes of beating Mercedes, but from the beginning, it seemed that the silver arrows were quite far ahead of them Ferraris. With the soft tyre, the middle compound available, Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas set the pace with his teammate Lewis Hamilton following closely behind. Worryingly for Ferrari, even though Sebastian Vettel was using supersofts at the time, he was over a second behind Bottas.
Even without rain, the track was fairly slippery, with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz of Toro Rosso among the drivers struggling for grip. Verstappen came close to losing it in the Ascari corners and Sainz span after going wide Parabolica, the long, 180 degree corner at the end of the lap.
Towards the end of the session, Mercedes put the supersoft tyres on their cars, which allowed them to break the 1:22 line in front of the Ferraris. Lewis Hamilton was the fasted with Bottas four tenths behind him in second. Both Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Räikkönen were far behind in third and fourth, over a second behind Hamilton. To raise even more concern for Ferrari, Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen were less than a tenth behind them in 5th and 6th
1. Lewis HAMILTON – Mercedes – 1:21.537
2. Valtteri BOTTAS – Mercedes – 1:21.972
3. Sebastian VETTEL – Ferrari – 1:22.652
4. Kimi RÄIKKÖNEN – Ferrari – 1:22.689
5. Daniel RICCIARDO – Red Bull – 1:22.742
6. Max VERSTAPPEN – Red Bull – 1:22.749
7. Sergio PEREZ – Force India – 1:23.317
8. Esteban OCON – Force India – 1:23.400
9. Stoffel VANDOORNE – McLaren – 1:23.465
10. Felipe MASSA – Williams – 1:23.561
11. Carlos SAINZ – Toro Rosso – 1:23.680
12. Kevin MAGNUSSEN – Haas – 1:23.973
13. Lance STROLL – Williams – 1:23.991
14. Daniil KVYAT – Toro Rosso – 1:24.012
15. Fernando ALONSO – McLaren – 1:24.015
16. Romain GROSJEAN – Haas – 1:24.079
17. Nico HULKENBERG – Renault – 1:24.542
18. Jolyon PALMER – Renault – 1:25.166
19. Pascal WEHRLEIN – Sauber – 1:25.223
20. Marcus ERICSSON – Sauber – 1:25.687
The soft tyre was once again the popular choice for the start Free Practice 2. Kimi Räikkönen went wide after a lock up in the second chicane resulting in him bouncing over the freshly painted kerbs. Almost everyone was out in the first 10 minutes, with only Lewis Hamilton, Fernando Alonso, and Daniel Ricciardo staying behind in their pit garages. Ricciardo and Alonso eventually went out with supersofts, but Ricciardo was forced to return to the pits after only a few laps as he complained the tyres had run out.
Coming close to the halfway mark, Williams’ Lance Stoll caused yellow flags in sector three after spinning while going through Ascari. The situation looked more dangerous than it actually was on the replays, as Lewis Hamilton was fairly close to the Canadian when he span. Hamilton was already leading the table before jumping on to the supersofts, on which the only driver to beat him was his teammate Valtteri Bottas.
With a half an hour to go, Carlos Sainz’s Toro Rosso began emitting white smoke. His Renault engine had evidently blown up, cutting the Spaniard’s practice short. Yet another dent in the relationship between Red Bull/Toro Rosso and Renault.
During the fast laps at the end of the session, Kevin Magnussen stopped at Ascari after breaking his rear suspension going over some kerbs earlier in the lap. After K-Mag climbed out of his Haas, the virtual safety car was deployed.
The biggest surprise in FP2 was that McLaren was the best team in the midfield, with Stoffel Vandoorne seventh and Fernando Alonso eight. As Monza is mainly driven through full throttle, it is surprising the Honda engine can get them flying this high. We’ll see how they fare in qualifying and the race.
1. Valtteri BOTTAS – Mercedes – 1:21.406
2. Lewis HAMILTON – Mercedes – 1:21.462
3. Sebastian VETTEL – Ferrari – 1:21.546
4. Kimi RÄIKKÖNEN – Ferrari – 1:21.804
5. Max VERSTAPPEN – Red Bull – 1:22.409
6. Daniel RICCIARDO – Red Bull – 1:22.752
7. Stoffel VANDOORNE – McLaren – 1:22.947
8. Fernando ALONSO – McLaren – 1:22.968
9. Esteban OCON – Force India – 1:22.977
10. Felipe MASSA – Williams – 1:22.985
11. Carlos SAINZ – Toro Rosso – 1:23.150
12. Nico HULKENBERG – Renault – 1:23.272
13. Jolyon PALMER – Renault – 1:23.317