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FP2: Sainz leads Norris as Perez crashes out during second practice at Monza

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Carlos Sainz put Ferrari at the top of the timesheets on their home soil as he set the pace during Friday’s second practice session for the Italian Grand Prix, leading the way from McLaren’s Lando Norris and Red Bull’s Sergio Perez, who crashed late in the session.

With an Alternative Tyre Allocation in play this weekend, it was another busy session around the ‘Temple of Speed’ as drivers and teams gathered more valuable data on the soft, medium and hard compounds in use – incidentally the softest from Pirelli’s range.

FP1: Verstappen heads Sainz and Perez in busy opening practice session in Monza

One man who missed out on that running was Lance Stroll, who had only just taken over the cockpit from reserve driver and FP1 runner Felipe Drugovich when he came to a halt coming out of the Ascari chicane due to a fuel system issue in the opening minutes.

Following that stoppage, and once all drivers had posted a time on softs, it was Sainz who held P1 with a 1m 21.355s, putting him just 0.019s ahead of former team mate Norris, while Perez set a time strong enough for third before going too wide at the Curva Alboreto (formerly the Parabolica), slid through the gravel and clipped the wall, bringing out another red flag.

Italy 2023

Practice 2 results

PositionTeam NameTime
1SAI1:21.355
2NOR+0.019s
3PER+0.185s
4PIA+0.19s
5VER+0.276s
View Full Results

However, there were also some traffic-related dramas for Perez’s team mate, Max Verstappen, who described his middle sector as “shocking” as he dodged several slower-moving cars en route to a time that would leave him just over a quarter of a second down on Sainz’s benchmark.

In another entertaining radio exchange, Verstappen asked the Red Bull pit wall for a second soft-shod lap to “have a proper read”, only for his Race Engineer, Gianpiero Lambiase, to declare that “it’s not qualifying” and insist on no changes to the run plan.

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Oscar Piastri made it two McLarens in the top four as he also slotted ahead of Verstappen, with the other Ferrari of Charles Leclerc taking sixth and Alex Albon’s slippery Williams ending up seventh – the Grove outfit going early with their runs on softs.

After Stroll’s aforementioned stoppage, Fernando Alonso was the sole Aston Martin for the majority of the session en route to eighth, followed by the Mercedes of George Russell and Haas machines of Nico Hulkenberg and Kevin Magnussen.

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Drivers began to push the limits around the high-speed Monza circuit on Friday afternoon

Valtteri Bottas was next up in Alfa Romeo’s eye-catching Monza-special Italian colour scheme, ending the session in 12th, as the Alpines of Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon sandwiched AlphaTauri’s Tuki Tsunoda in positions 13 to 15.

Logan Sargeant could not emulate Albon’s pace in the other Williams as he wound up 16th, just in front of seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton, who experienced some set-up troubles during the second hour of practice.

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Having reported concerns over his straight-line speed and the time he was losing to team mate Russell in the first sector, Hamilton radioed that “I’d rather box and get this changed”, only to be told: “That’d wipe out most of our programme”.

Liam Lawson continued his stand-in duties for Daniel Ricciardo at AlphaTauri as he took 18th, while the second Alfa Romeo of Zhou Guanyu and Stroll – watching on from the garage without a time to his name – brought up the rear.

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