Will this first free practice session be a harbinger of a glorious Sunday for Ferrari? At the Monza Autodrome, which celebrates its 100th anniversary this weekend, the drivers of the Italian team dominated the hour of testing ahead of the Mercedes, and relegated Verstappen to 5th place and Sergio Pérez, his teammate, at the 14th.
Monegasque Charles Leclerc set the fastest time (1’22″410) ahead of Spaniard Carlos Sainz (+0″077). George Russell (+0″279) completes this podium, ahead of Lewis Hamilton (+0″421) and Max Verstappen (+0″430). But these times are to be put into perspective. First of all, the Dutch leader in the championship was hampered (by Norris) in the Parabolic on his fast lap and therefore couldn’t show his true level, as he lit purple in all his sectors until then.
Then, the many penalties announced by the FIA at the same time will help to reshuffle the cards for the race, since Verstappen will start five places behind, as did his teammate Sergio Perez (ten places), for a change of internal combustion engine. Sainz will be penalized more heavily and will start from behind, having changed more parts on his car, just like Lewis Hamilton. These penalties could make Leclerc happy, who has not won since Austria on July 10.