MONZA, Italy – Charles Leclerc, fresh off his first Formula One victory, paced both practice sessions for the Italian Grand Prix on Friday at Autodromo Nazionale Monza.
The day proved to be a chaotic one, with rain and the resulting wet track causing several drivers issues throughout the day.
One driver who didn’t have a problem was Leclerc, the winner of the most recent Grand Prix in Belgium. Leclerc paced both practice sessions aboard his Ferrari, with his best time set during the second practice at 1:20.978.
Leclerc set his fast lap on soft tires during a brief period where the track was dry and the rain stopped, but the rain returned and drivers retreated to the garage until late in the session.
Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas were among the fastest once drivers began returning to the track, with Hamilton using a slipstream from Bottas to go second fastest on the day at 1:21.046.
Sebastian Vettel was third fastest overall thanks to his lap in the second practice, followed by Bottas and the Red Bull of Max Verstappen.
The speeds in the first practice were considerably slower since the track was soaked with rain water. Leclerc was still fastest, but with a considerably slower lap of 1:27.905.
The McLaren duo of Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris impressed with strong laps late in the first session as the track began to dry. Hamilton and Red Bull’s Alexander Albon followed.
Several drivers had issues in the first practice, with Sergio Perez’s Force India suffering major damage after a spin and contact with the wall. Kimi Raikkonen also spun, bouncing off the wall and getting stuck in a gravel trap. A few other drivers spun, but Perez and Raikkonen were the only competitors whose cars suffered any damage.