Italian GP Practice One: Charles Leclerc ahead, Sergio Perez crashes
F1's newest race winner straight back on top at Ferrari's home race; Perez, Raikkonen spin out in challenging early wet track conditions
By James Galloway
Last Updated: 06/09/19 4:18pm
Ferrari's Charles Leclerc set the pace on a drying Monza track at the end of an incident-filled opening practice session to the Italian GP weekend
After an overnight storm and then morning rain, F1's fastest circuit was low on grip throughout the 90 minutes of P1 running and drivers found the going very challenging.
Sergio Perez crashed his Racing Point, Kimi Raikkonen beached his Alfa Romeo, and numerous drivers spun or ran wide.
The circuit did slowly dry and in the closing minutes drivers were finally able to use slick tyres, shuffling the timesheet.
But it was F1's newest race winner - and the weekend's favourite for the race win - who still topped the charts, with Leclerc's final lap taking him to a best time of 1:27.905.
McLaren pair Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris finished second and third respectively.
World championship leader Lewis Hamilton was fourth, with Alex Albon the lead Red Bull in fifth. Daniil Kvyat, who ran strongly throughout for Toro Rosso, was sixth ahead of Max Verstappen's Red Bull.
Valtteri Bottas was shuffled from first to eighth ninth in the closing minutes after spinning at the chicane on his slick tyres, with the Mercedes just behind Sebastian Vettel in the second Ferrari. Vettel outbraked himself three times during the session, running straight on at the first chicane.
Tricky Monza catches drivers out
Raikkonen, last year's polesitter with Ferrari, was the first driver to spin into the gravel during the wet first half of the session.
The Finn had been rounding the Parabolica, Monza's long final corner, in steady fashion but as he put the power down in his Alfa Romeo, the car snapped away from him and went spinning into the gravel. Unable to get going from there, Raikkonen dropped out of the session.
After a red flag to retrieve the Finn's car, Racing Point's Perez then quickly caused another stoppage to the session when he hit the barriers exiting the Ascari chicane.
"We had the red flag so I was in the period of warming up the tyres, which were cold," Perez told Sky F1. "It's hard to find grip on this tyre, but not a lot of drivers have crashed.
"It's obviously quite hard out there, the grip is pretty low."
Toro Rosso's Gasly later caused a third red flag when he spun on the kerbs at the first chicane, but the Frenchman was able to get going again and the session then ran uninterrupted to the finish.
Italian GP Practice One Timesheet
|1) Charles Leclerc||Ferrari||1:27.905|
|2) Carlos Sainz||McLaren||+0.306|
|3) Lando Norris||McLaren||+0.545|
|4) Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||+0.825|
|5) Alexander Albon||Red Bull||+1.120|
|6) Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso||+2.055|
|7) Max Verstappen||Red Bull||+2.195|
|8) Sebastian Vettel||Ferrari||+2.602|
|9) Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes||+2.691|
|10) Pierre Gasly||Toro Rosso||+2.790|
|11) Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo||+4.943|
|12) Lance Stroll||Racing Point||+6.071|
|13) Daniel Ricciardo||Renault||+6.623|
|14) Kevin Magnussen||Haas||+6.810|
|15) Nico Hulkenberg||Renault||+7.228|
|16) Romain Grosjean||Haas||+8.075|
|17) Robert Kubica||Williams||+9.911|
|18) George Russell||Williams||+10.516|
|19) Sergio Perez||Racing Point||No time set|
|20) Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo||No time set|