Italian GP: Charles Leclerc tops second practice


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By Andrew Benson
Chief F1 author at Monza
The Charles Leclerc of ferrari edged Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes to establish fastest time in a clinic in the Grand Prix.
Leclerc, fresh from his maiden win in Belgium, was 0.068 minutes faster than Hamilton. Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel had been 0.201secs off the pace.
The Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas was third, from Max Verstappen and Alexander Albon’s Red Bulls.
Intermittent rain created competitiveness harder to read than usual.
The weather meant that the teams conducted their sessions into timetables, Ferrari and Red Bull cramming Mercedes preferring to wait until it had passed, prior to the rain shower early in the semester within their inaugural simulation laps.
That also supposed an abrupt in the subsequent prep, on that Ferrari might have been affected by a damper monitor for the beginning of their runs although on which Mercedes seemed to get an edge.
Nevertheless, the cars’ performance pattern seemed as expected – with Ferrari having an edge on a single lap but Mercedes quicker over an extended run.
That’s precisely the pattern although Leclerc took rod but won the race in his tail having a charging Hamilton directly.
Among the top six, a performance has been from Albon.
In just his second race for Red Bull following his promotion in Toro Rosso, he had been a creditable 0.239secs slower than Verstappen, who will start this weekend from the rear of the grid as a consequence of a penalty for using too many engines.
That’s also the case for Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly, who was seventh fastest, along with McLaren’s Lando Norris, who ended up 18th after missing the first half of this session while McLaren mended an oil leak.
Behind Gasly, Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo, the Daniil Kvyat of Toro Rosso and the second Renault of Nico Hulkenberg finished the top 10.
There were moments that are off-track and a few spins, but no mishaps, unlike the first session, when the two Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen and Racing Point Sergio Perez had heavy crashes.
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