Only two minutes were on the clock when Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson suffered a high-speed crash, bringing the red flag out for the first time this weekend. But once the action resumed, Sebastian Vettel bounced back from a lack of running in FP1 to top the second-practice timesheet in Monza on Friday…
Vettel managed just four laps in the day’s first practice amid car problems, which led to Ferrari changing his gearbox, but he enjoyed better success this time, pipping team mate Kimi Raikkonen to top spot by two-tenths of a second. His session ended on a sour note, though, when his Prancing Horse took a trip through the Parabolica gravel, nudging the barrier, before he was able to return to the pits.
The German’s chief title rival Lewis Hamilton also endured a low-key FP1 – with wet conditions limiting the Brit to just six laps – but the Mercedes driver was this time only 0.287s off the pace to make up the top three, ahead of Valtteri Bottas in the sister Silver Arrow.
Behind the tussling Ferraris and Mercedes were the Red Bull pair of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo, the former edging the battle for fifth by a tenth. After a surprise top six in FP1, which saw Sergio Perez go quickest, this was a more familiar group leading the way.