Every team lined up outside their respective garages to pay their respects to Queen Elizabeth II with a minute’s silence., ahead of the first free practice session for the 2022 Formula 1 Italian Grand Prix at the Monza circuit.
The first hour of practice then began at Monza, as drivers and teams got their eye in around one of Formula 1’s fastest tracks. Scuderia Ferrari, at their home race, debuted a new-look red and yellow livery for this weekend, and Carlos Sainz was one of the first out on track.
Max Verstappen, the championship leader who comes into the Italian GP on the back of four straight wins, was also out early. During FP1 we also received confirmation that the Dutchman is among the drivers facing grid penalties this weekend for taking new engine parts: the Red Bull driver has taken a new internal combustion engine (ICE), and had already exceeded his allowance of three for the season, and will receive a five-place penalty for that. There was also confirmation that Verstappen’s Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez and Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz will also receive more severe penalties for taking new parts.
On the track, it was Max Verstappen who set the early pace: the world championship leader was top of the timesheet with a 1:22.853, almost a full second clear of Yuki Tsunoda in second, while Alpine’s Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon were third and fourth.
Charles Leclerc then came back on track with the soft tyre and went fastest for the Maranello team, albeit only 0.4s quicker than Verstappen on his harder compound. Alex Albon went third for Williams after a purple first sector, with Daniel Ricciardo just behind him in the McLaren. Carlos Sainz made it a Ferrari one-two out in front, just 0.077s off his Maranello teammate, while the Mercedes care were also not far behind, with George Russell and Lewis Hamilton two and four tenths off respecively.
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Max Verstappen was fifth, although at this stage he had not set a representative run on the soft tyres.
The chequered flag waved with no change at the top of the timesheet in the final moments of the first free practice session for the Italian Grand Prix. The locals got what they wanted with the two Ferrari F1-75 cars fastest, as Charles Leclerc edged out team-mate Carlos Sainz.
George Russell finished third for Mercedes ahead of team-mate Lewis Hamilton, with world championship leader Max Verstappen fifth.
It should be noted that Verstappen’s attempt at a fast lap on soft tyres was interrupted, meaning we may not yet have seen the Red Bull’s full potential.
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