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By Andrew Benson
Chief F1 author at Monza
Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes to establish fastest time at a second practice in the Grand Prix was edged by ferrari’s Charles Leclerc.
Leclerc, fresh out of his maiden triumph in Belgium, was 0.068 seconds quicker than Hamilton. Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel had been third, 0.201secs off the pace.
The next Mercedes of all Valtteri Bottas was third, from the Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Alexander Albon.
Rain created competitiveness more difficult to read than usual.
The weather meant that the teams ran their sessions into various timetables, Ferrari and Red Bull cramming Mercedes preferring to wait patiently till it had passed, prior to the rain shower early in the semester within their qualifying simulation laps.
That meant an off-set from the later preparation, on which Ferrari might have been affected by a damper track for the start of their conducts although on which Mercedes appeared to get an edge.
Nevertheless, the operation pattern of the automobiles appeared as anticipated with Ferrari having an advantage on a lap but Mercedes faster over a longer term.
That’s exactly the pattern found in Belgium, where Leclerc took pole but won the race using a charging right in his tail.
One of the top six, a performance was from Albon.
In only his second race for Red Bull after his advertising from Toro Rosso, he had been a creditable 0.239secs slower than Verstappen, who will start this weekend from the back of the grid as a consequence of a punishment for using too many engines.
That’s also true for Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly, who was seventh quickest, while an oil flow was mended by McLaren after missing the first half of this session along with McLaren’s Lando Norris, that finished up 18th.
Underneath Gasly, the Daniel Ricciardo and the second Renault of Nico Hulkenberg of Renault completed the top 10.
There were several spins and off-track minutes, but no mishaps, unlike the first session, when both Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen and Racing Point Sergio Perez had crashes.
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