FP2: Hamilton tops final practice before F1 Sprint as Sainz crash brings out red flags at Monza
Lewis Hamilton set the fastest time in final practice ahead of the F1 Sprint on Saturday at Monza. The Mercedes driver was followed by team mate Valtteri Bottas and Red Bull's Max Verstappen in P3.
The drivers began this hour-long session running a mix of soft and medium compound tyres, with long runs the order of the day given qualifying was run on Friday and only the 18-lap F1 Sprint and Italian Grand Prix are to come. Those long runs were interrupted just before the half-way point when Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz spun in the middle of the Ascari chicane and crashed.
Early times hovered above the 1m25s mark, but Hamilton brought that down to a benchmark of 1m23.246s on soft tyres after the red flag, as track conditions ramped up and fuel loads lowered. His Mercedes team mate Bottas – fastest in qualifying – finished 0.222s off the pace in P2.
That left Verstappen third – where he starts for the Sprint – and his Red Bull team mate Sergio Perez fourth in FP2, while Alpine's Esteban Ocon rounded out the top five. The Dutchman was 0.416s off the pace, but on the medium tyre to Hamilton and Bottas's soft compounds.
FORMULA 1 HEINEKEN GRAN PREMIO D’ITALIA 2021
Practice 2 results
|1 Lewis Hamilton HAM Mercedes
|2 Valtteri Bottas BOT Mercedes
|3 Max Verstappen VER Red Bull Racing
|4 Sergio Perez PER Red Bull Racing
|5 Esteban Ocon OCO Alpine
Alfa Romeo's pair followed Ocon with stand-in Robert Kubica sixth and ahead of Antonio Giovinazzi (P7), while Alpine's Fernando Alonso took eighth.
Pierre Gasly, elated with his Friday qualifying performance, finished ninth on soft tyres while McLaren's Lando Norris took P10 on mediums, his team mate Daniel Ricciardo in P12. They were split by the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc who had to stop running, with an undisclosed issue, with five minutes remaining. His team mate Sainz also had a difficult session, crashing out with 32 minutes remaining.
A 10-minute red flag period punctuated the session after Sainz (P20) lost control of his Ferrari having stamped on the throttle going into the right-hand section of the Ascari chicane (Turn 9), his Ferrari spinning around and the front wing hitting the wall on the outside of the corner. The Spaniard may incur penalties for Sunday’s Grand Prix if the team have to replace key parts like the gearbox, but is set to start seventh for the Sprint having been preliminarily cleared by the medical centre – assuming Ferrari can get his car fixed in time.
Williams' Nicholas Latifi (P13) and George Russell (P14) followed, with AlphaTauri's Yuki Tsunoda 15th overall.
Nikita Mazepin picked up a pit lane speeding penalty for Haas on his way to P16 in the session, with Aston Martin's Lance Stroll (P17) and Sebastian Vettel following in P18. Vettel was the only driver to set his benchmark on hards.
Mick Schumacher followed, 19th in FP2, while Sainz duly took last place after his crash.
F1 Sprint follows at 1630 local time, the Mercedes of Bottas and Hamilton leading Red Bull's Verstappen when the lights go out for 18 laps of all-out action. Follow it live on F1.com and stay tuned for all the reaction from Saturday at Monza.