Italian GP: Verstappen in the wall, Bottas in first in FP1

Max Verstappen crashed at Ascari but was able to continue in first practice at Monza, while Valtteri Bottas topped the timesheets in a session dominated by slip-streaming.

Verstappen lost control through the second part of Ascari and span, then bounced over the final corner of the sectionand slid across the gravel on the right-hand side into the wall.

However, he was fortunate as he hit the wall front-on so only suffered damaged to his front wing.

Bottas was fastest for most of the session and set his best time with half an hour to go, two tenths ahead of Hamilton.

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Last year’s Q3 saw a surreal group crawling round the track in order to get a slip-stream, and ended with most of them missing the cut to set their final flying laps and none of them improving their times.

And it looks like that theme will continue this year, as even at the start of the weekend cars were looking to pick up a tow for their flying laps and to practice for qualifying.

Hamilton was second, while Alex Albon took a very strong third-place in the timings, one and a half tenths ahead of Verstappen.

Albon struggled with oversteer early on in the session, particularly at the della Roggio chicane, but recovered well to continue his momentum from last weekend.

Albon headed a Red-Bull dominated top six, with Daniil Kvyat, Verstappen and Pierre Gasly occupying the next three places.

Gasly also enjoyed a trip to the gravel at turn four – perhaps in solidarity with his former teammate late on in the session but kept it out of the wall and was able to continue.

The two AlphaTauris ran on medium tyres compared to the softs that most other drivers set their fastest times on.

The Australian placed ninth in a slightly underwhelming session for Renault, at a circuit where they expect to run very competitively.

Esteban Ocon ended the session twelfth in the other R.S. 20, two tenths behind Ricciardo but on the soft tyres.

However, there’s still plenty of time for the team to improve over the weekend.

Leclerc was one place ahead in a difficult session for Ferrari. After he won at Monza last year in front of the adoring Tiffosi, his eleventh place actually looked like a decent result given where their car seems to be – his teammate Sebastian Vettel languished down in nineteenth.

Sergio Perez and Lando Norris were seventh and eighth, the Brit led out the pack in the flurry of activity after Verstappen’s red flag was lifted and was nowhere, but went out later in the session and put in a strong time. The other McLaren of Carlos Sainz rounded out the top ten.

Kevin Magnussen suffered a reliability issue towards the end of the session and had his floor taken off the car after returning to the garage, meaning yet another disrupted session for Haas.

Roy Nissany once again took part in the session for Williams instead of George Russell, having also replaced the Brit in FP1 in Spain.

He put in a good showing placing 18th in the session, ahead of Vettel and full time driver Nicholas Latifi, but earned the wrath of Bottas near the end of the session as the Finn adjudged Nissany to have impeded him.

Pos. Driver Team Time Laps
1 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:20.703 28
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes +0.245 27
3 Alex Albon Red Bull Racing-Honda +0.797 30
4 Daniil Kvyat AlphaTauri-Honda +0.852 31
5 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing-Honda +0.938 22
6 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri-Honda +0.964 27
7 Sergio Perez Racing Point-BWT Mercedes +1.044 25
8 Lando Norris McLaren-Renault +1.0.44 29
9 Daniel Ricciardo Renault +1.086 22
10 Carlos Sainz Jr. McLaren-Renault +1.118 27
11 Charles Leclerc Ferrari +1.201 25
12 Esteban Ocon Renault +1.281 28
13 Lance Stroll Racing Point-BWT Mercedes +1.428 21
14 Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari +1.706 20
15 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari +1.719 19
16 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari +1.849 24
17 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari +1.916 27
18 Roy Nissany Williams-Mercedes +2.123 25
19 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari +2.285 24
20 Nicolas Latifi Williams-Mercedes +2.417 22