Nico Rosberg topped the time sheet in the second free practice session at the Italian Grand Prix. Rosberg overturned this mornings result which saw Lewis finish on the top spot in the first free practice session. However, Hamilton’s afternoon was far from perfect.
Adrian Sutil, Romain Grosjean and Kamui Kobayashi all had regained their cars for the second free practice session after sitting out the first practice session for Giedo van der Garde, Charles Pic and Roberto Merhi respectively.
When the green licked flicked on to mark the start of the session, no drivers initially set out for their first lap. Eventually Romain Grosjean took to the track to kick off the session and it didn’t take him long before he ran straight on at the second chicane.
In the early stages the order at the top changed hands as quick as drivers could set a lap time. Kvyat took the early lead before he was pushed down by Sergio Perez and in turn, he was pushed down by Kevin Magnussen. The McLaren was looking impressive earlier in the day and after any changes carried out during the break, the car has maintained its pace.
For the Mercedes duo, it was Rosberg taking to the track along with the lead of the session. But for Hamilton he was forced to leave his car and wait in the garage after his engine refused to start. In FP1 Hamilton had been using the engine that set fire in qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix. But at this stage he was going nowhere quick with most of the bodywork now removed from his car.
In a lap that brought a cheer to the Tifosi, Raikkonen controlled a lot of understeer on the exit of the Ascari chicane to move his Ferrari into the top two. However he was soon knocked down by the storming McLaren of Magnussen. Nevertheless the cheers would not be whipped away from the Tifosi that easily as Alonso galloped his prancing horse into the top three, and then all the way to the top spot.
Now as the first half hour came to a close Rosberg had regained the top spot, but by just 4 thousandths of a second to Alonso. Meanwhile Hamilton remained in the garage with an engine that wouldn’t fire up.
At Lewis’ old team, McLaren had sent Magnussen out onto the medium tyres. However, on his first timed lap he saw no gain, instead posted a slower time than on the hard compound. The team soon told him that he had run out of the electrical charge by the end of his lap, potentially the cause of the slower lap.
When Rosberg took to the new rubber he managed to find around half a second to improve at the front. Whilst Valtteri Bottas slipped into second after finding a similar gain. Although these two drivers were finding things comfortable, Adrian Sutil was findings things a far bit more uncomfortable in his Sauber following a run over the sausage kerbs.
Heading into the second chicane, Sutil was forced into fighting for control after the rear became loose under breaking. As it snapped each way, Sutil eventually calmed its direction and headed over the kerbs bordering the run off area. Just a few minutes later and just down the road from this incident, Romain Grosjean was venturing into the gravel at Lesmo after sliding wide on entry.
Finally, an hour into the session, Hamilton was able to take to the track following the Mercedes engineers getting Hamilton’s engine firing once more. Before Lewis had taken to the track, Rosberg had finished his flying laps and remained at the top by just over a tenth of a second to Raikkonen. For Lewis’ first flying lap he finished a further second back from Raikkonen.
This was by no means his full pace as on the subsequent laps Lewis improved to claw his way towards the top. It wasn’t an easy route, but eventually Hamilton moved to within six hundredths of a second to Rosberg as he moved into second place. Over the laps leading up to Lewis’ 1:26:286, he had been loosing one tenth of a second in the first and final sector to the time Rosberg had posted earlier on in the session with different track conditions.
For the Lotus duo, they both looked to have a handful of a car on their hands as Grosjean continued to venture into the gravel traps in a bid to tame his wild car. This is along with Maldonado finding himself venturing into the run offs as well.
But for the modified Parabolica, Fernando Alonso was one of the drivers manipulating the new run off as he used more and more of the extra tarmac on his way round.
Heading into the final five minutes, Jenson Button was also heading straight into the escape road at the first chicane. Approaching the end of the pit straights he was tucked behind the Toro Rosso of Kvyat and decided to pull to his inside going into the breaking zone, the difference in speed was clear to see at this stage as he locked up and headed straight down the road. Regardless of the lock up, he would have been unable to turn in with a Sauber exiting the pit lane at the same moment.
By the time the chequered flag fell, Rosberg remained on the top spot following drivers and teams switching to long run stints. This meant Mercedes locked out yet another Friday and Ferrari remained ‘best of the rest’ at their home race.
Whether that can continue tomorrow however is a different matter as conditions may change, McLaren & Williams could improve their set up or Red Bull may spring a surprise after another poor session by their standards.
|7||1||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:26.762||0.537||27|
|10||3||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:26.992||0.767||37|
|11||11||Sergio Perez||Force India-Mercedes||1:27.079||0.854||42|
|12||27||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India-Mercedes||1:27.227||1.002||39|