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By Andrew Benson
Chief F1 author at Monza
Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc edged Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes to establish time in a second clinic at the Italian Grand Prix.
Leclerc, fresh out of his maiden triumph in Belgium, was 0.068 seconds quicker than Hamilton. Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel has been 0.201secs off the pace.
The Mercedes of all Valtteri Bottas was from Max Verstappen and Alexander Albon’s Red Bulls.
Rain made competitiveness to read than usual.
The varying weather meant that the teams ran their sessions into timetables, Ferrari and Red Bull cramming within their simulation laps before the rain shower, Mercedes preferring to wait till it had passed.
That also supposed an abrupt in the subsequent race-simulation prep, on that Ferrari might have been affected by a damper track for the beginning of their runs although on which Mercedes appeared to have an advantage.
Nevertheless, the cars’ performance pattern appeared as anticipated with Ferrari having an advantage on a lap but Mercedes faster over an extended run.
That is exactly the pattern found in Belgium, although Leclerc took pole by three-quarters of a second, but won the race in his tail having a charging directly.
Among the top six, a performance has been from Albon.
In only his second race for Red Bull following his advertising against Toro Rosso, he had been a creditable 0.239secs slower than Verstappen, who will begin this weekend in the back of the grid as a result of a punishment for using a lot of engines.
That is also true for Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly, that was seventh fastest, while an oil flow was fixed by McLaren after missing the first half of the session along with McLaren’s Lando Norris, that finished up 18th.
Underneath Gasly, Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo, Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat and the second Renault of Nico Hulkenberg finished the top 10.
There were moments and a few spins, but no mishaps, unlike the first session, when both Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen and Racing Point Sergio Perez had significant crashes.
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