FP2: Leclerc remains on top in Ferrari’s back yard

Mark Scott
Charles Leclerc Ferrari

Charles Leclerc

Charles Leclerc retained top spot in tricky conditions following the second practice session on Ferrari’s home patch at Monza. 

Leclerc was quickest with a 1:20.978 as on and off rain showers contributed toward another frustrating session with a mixed  up schedule.

The Monaco driver edged out Lewis Hamilton by 0.068 seconds; Sebastian Vettel rounded off the top three two tenths behind his Ferrari team-mate.

Valtteri Bottas and Max Verstappen, both three tenths adrift, plus Alex Albon, another three tenths back, completed the top six.

Lando Norris missed well over an hour of running due to another reliability problem on his McLaren MCL34.

The drivers were treated to a dry track at the start of FP2 and, with an 80 per cent chance of rain in the session, there was an eagerness up and down the paddock to gather some more meaningful data compared to FP1.

The first spots of rain 15 minutes into the session, but that did not stop teams strapping on the red-striped soft tyres and Leclerc taking nearly a second out of Hamilton’s best time on the mediums at that stage with a 1:20.978.

Vettel hit traffic on his first hot lap and was two tenths behind after his first attempt, while Verstappen had a cleaner run to be just a further tenth back.

Albon managed to squeeze a qualy sim lap in and was three tenths away from his team-mate in P4…then a heavier rain shower arrived and forced everyone back in the pits.

One driver who did not leave the garage at all when the track light went green was Lando Norris as his car suffered an suspected hydraulic issue.

As the track suddenly emptied, the stewards stopped the session for marshals to clear up some gravel that had spilled out onto the track. Thrilling stuff.

We got the green light again with 45 minutes of the session remaining and drivers continued tentatively on the slick tyres despite some parts of the circuit being a little on the damp side again.

Hamilton and Bottas still managed to find improvement, though, with the former moving to within a tenth of leader Leclerc with the aid of a tow and Bottas three tenths further back in P4.

The rain got a little heavier again, but all teams persisted with the changeable conditions as they collected valuable data on their long runs – thankfully with no major spins like we witnessed in FP1.

FP2 timesheet

All fastest times on softs unless stated

1 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:20.978 37
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 0.068s 32
3 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 0.201s 38
4 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 0.369s 33
5 Max Verstappen Red Bull 0.372s 29
6 Alex Albon Red Bull 0.611s 30
7 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso 1.146s 41
8 Romain Grosjean Haas 1.175s 43
9 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 1.271s 36
10 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1.282s 37
11 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1.360s 37
12 Carlos Sainz McLaren 1.504s 31 (M)
13 Kevin Magnussen Haas 1.533s 42
14 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo Racing 1.545s 34
15 Lance Stroll Racing Point 1.728s 31
16 Sergio Perez Racing Point 1.904s 33 (M)
17 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo Racing 2.087s 35
18 Lando Norris McLaren 2.583s 15
19 Robert Kubica Williams 2.759s 29
20 George Russell Williams 3.335s 23

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