Italian GP: Hamilton still on top in final practice

Lewis Hamilton continued to set the pace at Monza, setting the quickest time in final practice for the Italian Grand Prix.

The Mercedes driver, who had dominated Friday practice, waited until the dying moments to take first position after the session started on a damp circuit.

Hamilton's best of 1:24.544 was still slower than his fastest time from yesterday.

Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel was second quickest this time, with Nico Rosberg in third, less than three tenths of Hamilton's best.

William duo Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa completed the top five ahead of Pastor Maldonado (Lotus), Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen, Sergio Perez in the Force India, Marcus Ericsson in the Sauber and Romain Grosjean in the second Lotus.

The session was off to a slow start following overnight rain, which meant the circuit was damp when the green lights went on.

That meant the first laps were done with Pirelli's intermediate tyres.

Toro Rosso drivers Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz were initially the only two drivers to set a time on the damp track, running some 10 seconds off yesterday's pace.

They were also the first drivers to switch to slicks near the halfway point of the session, with Sainz lapping in the 1:31s, showing the conditions were still far from ideal.

As Sainz dipped into the 1:29s, a third driver - Felipe Nasr - finally joined the Toro Rosso duo on the timesheets after the halfway mark.

It was only with some 25 minutes left that the top teams decided to join the action.

Vettel moved into first position with his first lap on slicks, lowering the benchmark to a 1:28.673.

As the track continued to dry, the times started tumble, with Vettel running less than two seconds off the pace with less than 20 minutes to go.

Verstappen and Daniil Kvyat were the first drivers to switch to soft rubber, but their efforts were hampered by yellow flags at Sector 1 and 2 after Daniel Ricciardo's stopped on track with technical problems.

The Australian managed just seven laps before having to park his Red Bull, finishing at the bottom of the times.

Rosberg, on medium tyres, moved to P1 with 13 minutes to go, setting a best time of 1:25.480.

With less four minutes to go, Bottas jumped to first in the Williams, making good use of the soft tyres, but Rosberg retook the place seconds later, lapping in 1:24s for the first time in the session.

The rush in the final minutes meant first Vettel and then Hamilton went quickest, the Briton outpacing the German by 0.264 seconds in his first run with soft tyres.

 Pos  Driver   Team   Time   Gap  Laps 
 Lewis Hamilton  Mercedes 1:24.544   18
 Sebastian Vettel  Ferrari 1:24.808 0.264 12
 Nico Rosberg  Mercedes 1:24.843 0.299 19
 Valtteri Bottas  Williams 1:24.946 0.402 14
 Felipe Massa  Williams 1:25.165 0.621 14
 Pastor Maldonado  Lotus 1:25.242 0.698 11
 Kimi Raikkonen  Ferrari 1:25.244 0.700 13
 Sergio Perez  Force India 1:25.515 0.971 14
 Marcus Ericsson  Sauber 1:25.692 1.148 17
10   Romain Grosjean  Lotus 1:25.747 1.203 8
11   Felipe Nasr  Sauber 1:25.912 1.368 17
12   Nico Hulkenberg  Force India 1:26.141 1.597 13
13   Fernando Alonso  McLaren 1:26.632 2.088 9
14   Jenson Button  McLaren 1:26.750 2.206 14
15   Will Stevens  Marussia 1:28.123 3.579 13
16   Max Verstappen  Toro Rosso 1:28.215 3.671 25
17   Daniil Kvyat  Red Bull 1:28.591 4.047 10
18   Carlos Sainz  Toro Rosso 1:28.628 4.084 23
19   Roberto Merhi  Marussia 1:29.117 4.573 11
20   Daniel Ricciardo  Red Bull 1:29.900 5.356 7
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About this article
Series Formula 1
Event Italian GP
Sub-event Saturday practice
Track Monza
Article type Practice report