Lewis Hamilton had the measure of Nico Rosberg again in second free practice for the Italian Grand Prix at Monza, but only just.
Hamilton lapped in 1m24.279s on the soft-compound Pirelli tyre, with Rosberg just 0.021s slower.
The Mercedes duo had a seven-tenth buffer over Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, while the Force Indias of Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg impressed to push Kimi Raikkonen down to sixth.
Story of the session
Raikkonen set an early benchmark of 1m26.684s on the medium tyre, which was quickly eclipsed by teammate Vettel on 1m26.548s.
Hulkenberg went quickest with 1m26.439s, before Vettel struck back on 1m26.252s.
The Mercedes duo appeared 15 minutes into the session, Hamilton immediately going P1 on 1m25.683s before Rosberg managed 1m25.617s seconds later.
Hamilton lowered his time to 1m25.285s, with Rosberg improving to 1m25.451s, with Hamilton then further improving to 1m25.133s to open out a 0.318s gap over his teammate.
Hulkenberg was the first to try the soft tyre, setting a 1m25.720s to go third, with Vettel doing likewise to leapfrog him and split the Mercedes duo with 1m25.136s. Hulkenberg improved on his second flying lap to 1m25.325s.
Vettel went fastest on 1m25.038s on a second flying lap on the softs, but the Mercedes pairing proved they were in a different league again when they switched to the faster tyre.
Hamilton set a 1m24.279s but failed to improve on his second attempt. Rosberg managed 1m24.300s, 0.021s in arrears, and looked set to improve on his second attempt before losing time in the final sector.
Hamilton was only 0.4s faster on the soft than he managed on fresh mediums in FP1 this morning.
Force India’s Sergio Perez went fourth fastest on 1m25.278s, 0.999s down on Hamilton’s pace but ahead of Hulkenberg and Raikkonen.
Lotus’s Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado were seventh and eighth quickest respectively, ahead of Williams duo Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa.
The Renault- and Honda-powered cars struggled as expected on this power circuit. Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo was 13th, almost 2s off the pace, ahead of the Toro Rosso of Max Verstappen.
Trio hits trouble
Ricciardo suffered gearbox issues 15 minutes into the session: “Do not shift gear,” he was told, reporting back that he was stuck in first due to a hydraulic problem.
Grosjean took a gravelly excursion at the Ascari chicane, while Verstappen had a huge spin there – just avoiding the barrier, and managing to drive out of the gravel trap.
|4||Sergio Perez||Force India||1:25.278||0.999||34|
|5||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India||1:25.325||1.046||43|
|13||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull||1:26.222||1.943||27|
|14||Max Verstappen||Toro Rosso||1:26.454||2.175||38|
|15||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso||1:26.641||2.362||50|
|20||Daniil Kvyat||Red Bull||1:28.723||4.444||28|