It could be an extremely competitive weekend at Monza after Carlos Sainz edged out Lando Norris in the second practice session;watch final practice on Saturday at 11:30am, with qualifying at 3pm and lights out for the race on Sunday at 2pm – all live on Sky Sports F1
By Nigel Chiu at Monza
Last Updated: 01/09/23 9:48pm
Carlos Sainz led a closely-fought second practice at the Italian Grand Prix on his 29th birthday from Lando Norris to give Ferrari a confidence boost on home soil.
Sainz, who was second behind Max Verstappen in the opening practice session, set the fastest times on the medium and soft tyre runs to underline Ferrari’s strong pace at Monza.
Norris was just 0.019s behind the Spaniard, with Sergio Perez another 0.166s down on the pace-setter after receiving a handy slipstream from Verstappen at the end of the lap. However, on the race runs, Perez spun at the final corner and nudged the barrier, before getting beached in the gravel which caused a red flag.
“I understeered off on the exit and tried to keep it nailed,” explained Perez. “I thought I had it under control, but then I touched a little bit of the gravel and that was game over. It doesn’t look too bad, the damage, the hit was fairly small.
“I don’t think we lost anything at the end, I think two laps (we lost), so nothing representative in that regard.
“The positives are the car is performing well and I’m feeling comfortable with it. I think we are in a good position for the rest of the weekend, I felt we had a really strong Friday.”
In the qualifying simulations, Perez returned the slipstream favour on the home straight for Verstappen’s fastest lap, but the championship leader suggested he didn’t want to give his Red Bull team-mate a tow again because it didn’t give him a “proper read” over one lap.
Verstappen, who is looking to break Sebastian Vettel’s record of nine straight wins with victory on Sunday, ended up in fifth, in between Oscar Piastri and Charles Leclerc as the top six were separated by less than four tenths of a second.
Asked about the potential threat likely to be posed by Friday pacesetters Ferrari, Verstappen said: “We will have to wait and see until everyone ramps up their engines as well. From our side we can do a better job but it’s not the end of the world as well.”
Alex Albon’s fastest time was on the mediums, which put him in seventh place and 0.624s behind Sainz, with Fernando Alonso in eighth.
Mercedes had a difficult Friday afternoon with George Russell in ninth and Lewis Hamilton only 17th. Hamilton was told by his engineer Peter Bonnington he was mostly losing time on the straights to his Mercedes team-mate.
Lance Stroll only completed one lap all day due to a car failure as he was stuck in eighth gear before grounding to a halt at Turn 10, the Ascari Chicane.
Stroll was replaced by Formula 2 champion Felipe Drugovich in first practice as Aston Martin took the opportunity to run their test driver as part of F1’s regulations that each team must use another driver in practice twice in a season.
The Alternative Tyre Allocation is being used this weekend, which means each driver only has 11 sets of tyres for the whole event, rather than 13.
After some limited practice running at the Hungarian Grand Prix, when this format was first used, most teams were able to largely run their normal programme in the second session, so Ferrari and McLaren’s pace compared to Red Bull is genuine going into final practice at 11.30am on Saturday and qualifying at 3pm.
Italian GP Practice Two Timesheet
|1) Carlos Sainz||Ferrari||1:11.852|
|2) Lando Norris||McLaren||+0.019|
|3) Sergio Perez||Red Bull||+0.185|
|4) Oscar Piastri||McLaren||+0.190|
|5) Max Verstappen||Red Bull||+0.276|
|6) Charles Leclerc||Ferrari||+0.361|
|7) Alex Albon||Williams||+0.624|
|8) Fernando Alonso||Aston Martin||+0.716|
|9) George Russell||Mercedes||+0.821|
|10) Nico Hulkenberg||Haas||+0.936|
|11) Kevin Magnussen||Haas||+1.219|
|12) Valtteri Bottas||Alfa Romeo||+1.240|
|13) Pierre Gasly||Alpine||+1.296|
|14) Yuki Tsunoda||AlphaTauri||+1.341|
|15) Esteban Ocon||Alpine||+1.361|
|16) Logan Sargeant||Williams||+1.400|
|17) Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||+1.428|
|18) Liam Lawson||AlphaTauri||+1.812|
|19) Zhou Guanyu||Alfa Romeo||+1.991|
|20) Lance Stroll||Aston Martin||No time|
Sky Sports F1’s live Italian GP schedule
Saturday 2 September
8.20am: F3 Sprint Race
11.15am: Italian GP Practice Three (session starts at 11.30am)
1.10pm: F2 Sprint Race
2.10pm: Italian GP Qualifying build-up
3pm: Italian GP Qualifying
4.45pm: Ted’s Qualifying Notebook
Sunday 3 September
7.10am: F3 Feature Race
8.15am: F2 Feature Race
12.30pm: Grand Prix Sunday: Italian GP build-up
2pm: THE ITALIAN GRAND PRIX
4pm: Chequered Flag: Italian GP reaction
5pm: Ted’s Notebook