Faster and faster they go at Monza, but Hamilton tops second free practice for the Italian Grand Prix.
New engines were out at McLaren but new tyres where on up and down the pitlane as the soft tyres rubbered in on the Monza circuit. Unfortunately for a competitive field, the faster rubber was not enough for anywhere to reel in Mercedes as Hamilton topped the time sheet by seven tenths of a second to the nearest constructor challenger, who could only beat Hamilton’s best medium tyre time on the softs.
When the second practice session for the Italian Grand Prix engaged, Raikkonen set the early pace for the runners on track. His team-mate however was having a tough start with his constant speed running along the straights, but after a few tweaks to the engine settings it was Seb in P1.
Ricciardo’s afternoon was kicking off worse though, after a lock up into the Ascari chicane was followed by the team instructing him not to change gear, forcing him into cruising around the usually high-speed Autodromo di Monza in first gear and at a comparative walking pace back to the pits.
By the time he hit the pit lane, the Mercedes duo had joined in on the action and once the white flags were put away, they where on top of the field by miles once more. It was not actually until Vettel had the soft tyres fitted that he, or anyone in fact, could get within the Mercedes’ medium tyre times.
But like Ferrari and the rest of the field, Mercedes had the soft tyres to use and once they were bolted onto Hamilton’s came, he regained the top spot by three-quarters of a second.
Lewis’ ex-team-mate, Jenson Button, meanwhile was back in his usual surroundings of the McLaren garage as the team detected an abnormality in the data which they needing to analyse.
Talking of team-mates, Carlos Sainz’s team-mate, Max Verstappen, was going for a spin into the gravel at Ascari. But unlike Carlos’ spin into the Parabolica gravel in FP1, Max was able to keep the car rolling in the gravel at Ascari, find first gear, engage the clutch and then drive the Toro Rosso out of the gravel. In terms of the reason why they both found themselves in gravel traps, both drivers had the rear of the car snap on them under braking. But for Max, he had got the rear of his Toro Rosso onto the white strip to the side of the track when he broke for the chicane.
After Hamilton and Rosberg had showed the field they have the legs on them with ease and Force India took P4 and 5, the long runs were the order of the teams as they prepared for Sunday. Unfortunately for Button, he was still in the garage as the team looked to solve his earlier issue but with limited crew members working as the ERS warning lights beamed across the McLaren garage.
While running lengthy stints on both compounds, drivers were able to rack up a sizeable amount of laps. Hamilton however had to take a brief break from his long runs as the team changed his front brakes. Force India’s Sergio Perez also complained about his brakes not long after, when he went straight on at the first chicane. But in terms of issues, Max Verstappen had an unusual case of his seat moving around in the cockpit during the session but worsened towards the end.