Ferrari still lead at Monza, but Max Verstappen is closing in

Ferrari still lead at Monza, but Max Verstappen is closing in

At the Monza Autodrome, which celebrates its 100th anniversary this weekend, Carlos Sainz junior took over from Charles Leclerc, who was fastest in the first free practice session.

The Italian team is celebrating 75 years of its car production and highlighting it in yellow, the color of the company’s logo.

The Spanish driver recorded an unbeaten time of 1 minute 21s 664/1000, but Red Bull took the lead.

Max Verstappen came within 143 milliseconds of Ferrari. He went to 3 tenths between the two sessions, he who just hopes to have the best speed in the straight line this weekend.

We’ve always been playing slowly so it’s normal when you get here it’s not going to be a good weekend,” said the Dutchman about his recent poor performance in Monza. Add to that some technical issues and engine penalties here too. So naturally, it was never surprising.

With good straight line speed, the weekend could be completely different for ushe added, optimistically.

Verstappen already knows he will have to drop five places on the starting grid (see below).

Leclerc slipped to 3rd place (+0.193), after locking the wheels in his final flying lap of the session.

Lando Norris (McLaren) this time beat the Mercedes-Benz drivers, in 4th place (+0.674).

Lance Stroll’s Aston Martin AMR22 is wearing its black livery as a tribute to the late king.

Photo: Aston Martin Racing

Lance Stroll also lost time in his Aston Martin.

He lost a tenth between the two sessions, and ended the day in 18th place (+2.121), just behind teammate Sebastian Vettel.

The Quebecer finished ahead of his teammate, Torontonian Nicholas Latifi (+2.318), 19th in his Williams. At least he has the (small) satisfaction of cutting a tenth of a second off his time in the first working session.

Two reserve drivers, Italian Antonio Giovinazzi, of the Haas team, and Dutchman Nyck de Vries, of Aston Martin, took part in the first free practice session.

F1 did not fail to pay its respects to Queen Elizabeth II.

England is truly the birthplace of F1, and fertile ground for the development of the discipline. Eight out of ten teams have their factories on British soil. Only Alfa Romeo Sauber (in Switzerland) and Ferrari (in Italy) have a continental base.

The Ferrari team staff are lined up in the pits, gathered for a minute's silence.

A minute’s silence from the Ferrari staff at Monza

Photo: Getty Images/Mark Thompson

The staff of all the teams lined up 10 minutes before the start of the first free practice session for a time of reflection in respect of the dead king.

Another minute of silence should be observed before the race on Sunday.

more punishment

Max Verstappen will have to drop five places on the starting grid after changing an engine component in his Red Bull RB18.

Two weeks after changing his power unit in Belgium, he is penalized again, this time for a change of internal combustion engine beyond the authorized limit for the season, indicated in a press release from the FIA.

This decline could smile at Charles Leclerc, who wants to close the gap that separates him from the Dutchman in the standings. His deficit is 109 points before this round of 16 of 22.

Sergio Pérez also gets a penalty for the same reason. The Mexican loses 10 places, because it is the first time that he exceeds the maximum allowed.

Mercedes-Benz announced on Thursday that Lewis Hamilton has a brand new engine this weekend, after damaging his rear end in a collision with Fernando Alonso (Alpine) in Belgium.

The Briton will start from the back of the grid, as will Carlos Sainz Jr., who changed his gearbox and two engine components, and Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri).

Valtteri Bottas (Alfa Romeo Sauber) will be penalized for 15 places.

Finally, the Haas team confirmed that they have replaced Mick Schumacher’s single-seater gearbox.