RACE DEBRIEF

    Lewis Hamilton headed Mercedes’ second one-two of the day in Free Practice 2 for the Italian Grand Prix ahead of Valtteri Bottas, Hamilton nearly nine-tenths clear of the McLaren of Lando Norris, who put himself in an impressive P3 after the session’s qualifying simulations.

    With temperatures around 28 degrees Celsius at the Parco di Monza, Hamilton finished FP2 with a best time of 1m 20.192s – 0.786s faster than Charles Leclerc’s leading time from the session last year – with Bottas slotting into second, 0.262s down on Hamilton, having been fastest in FP1 this morning.

    Lando Norris was hampered by a power unit issue for much of the session, but a late effort on the soft tyres was good enough for P3, 0.897s behind Hamilton.

    READ MORE: Red Bull have 'over-performed' in Italy says Horner as he talks up chances of return to Monza podium

    AlphaTauri's Pierre Gasly did a fine job to finish the session as the fastest Honda runner, ending up P4 and just over a tenth quicker than Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, who got over his FP1 spin into the wall at Ascari to take fifth, while after overcoming a wide moment at the exit of Lesmo 1, Carlos Sainz was sixth in the second McLaren.

    Formula 1 Gran Premio Heineken D’italia 2020

    Italy 2020

    Practice 2 results

    POSITION TIME
    1 Lewis Hamilton HAM Mercedes 1:20.192
    2 Valtteri Bottas BOT Mercedes +0.262s
    3 Lando Norris NOR McLaren +0.897s
    4 Pierre Gasly GAS AlphaTauri +0.929s
    5 Max Verstappen VER Red Bull Racing +1.036s

    Daniil Kvyat backed up AlphaTauri’s pace by taking seventh, ahead of the Racing Point of Lance Stroll, while it was a more positive afternoon for Ferrari, who finished in the top 10 of a session for the first time since Barcelona, as Leclerc took P9, 1.311s off Hamilton’s time – although Leclerc described the car as “so hard to drive” after his own off at Lesmo 1.

    The top 10 was rounded out by the second Racing Point of Sergio Perez, with Renault’s Esteban Ocon taking P11.

    READ MORE: Binotto hoping Spa was low point in Ferrari season as he reveals engine mode approach for Monza

    That means that the likes of Sebastian Vettel, Alex Albon and Daniel Ricciardo missed out on the top 10 – although all three drivers had laps deleted for track limit infringements at the Parabolica, so will hope to have more in hand for qualifying, as they ended up 12th, 14th and 15th respectively.

    Meanwhile, Vettel blotted his copybook late on in the session by spinning at the exit of Lesmo 1, seemingly caught out by his SF1000’s low-downforce set-up.

    Watch the highlights from the FP2 session at Monza

    Antonio Giovinazzi was Alfa Romeo’s fastest driver in 13th, while Kevin Magnussen took 16th for Haas, ahead of 2018 Monza polesitter Kimi Raikkonen and the second Haas of Romain Grosjean.

    Nicholas Latifi finished as the fastest Williams in 19th, while George Russell was 20th on his first session of the weekend – having given up his FW43 to Roy Nissany in FP1 – but complained that his car was “feeling horrific” on his high fuel runs.

    So, party mode or no party mode, it’s still Mercedes with a sizeable advantage at Monza. Let’s see how that pans out in qualifying, where hopefully there’ll be no repeats of the tow shenanigans that played out at the Temple of Speed 12 months ago…