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Italian Grand Prix FP2: Mercedes untouchable with Lewis Hamilton quickest

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Italian Grand Prix FP2: Mercedes untouchable with Lewis Hamilton quickest
Sep 4, 2015, 3:14 PM

Lewis Hamilton beat his Mercedes Formula 1 teammate Nico Rosberg to the top spot in the second practice session for the Italian Grand Prix.

Lewis Hamilton beat his Mercedes Formula 1 teammate Nico Rosberg to the top spot in the second practice session for the Italian Grand Prix.

The reigning world champion set a time of 1:24.279s with just under an hour of the session left to run and although Rosberg twice set the fastest time in the first sector, the German could not eclipse his teammates time and ended up 0.021s adrift.

Speaking after the session, Hamilton said: "It’s been a good day, a testing day with lots of things try, but it’s been good. The car has been feeling good so far this weekend and great pace from the team, [we just need] to keep it together."

Lewis Hamilton

Sebastian Vettel ended the session in third place, 0.759s behind Hamilton’s best time. The German driver had set the early benchmark pace in the first fifteen minutes of the session before the Mercedes drivers emerged from the pitlane after 15 minutes and moved straight to the top of the timesheets. Vettel was 0.3s quicker than his Ferrari teammate Kimi Raikkonen, who finished in sixth place.

Vettel said: "We were quite busy working with the car and we can and have to improve for tomorrow. I think there is some stuff we can do better, but we had a solid day so I’m quite happy.

"It’s always difficult to say where people are and what they are doing on Friday, but [Mercedes] are very strong and they do look very quick. I would say it’s no surprise and if they are not on the front row tomorrow then that would be a surprise. But we like surprises and we’ll do our utmost to turn things around.

Sebastian Vettel

"Before qualifying we have to make sure that we make a step forward with the car because I think there is more potential."

Due to the new requirements from Pirelli that teams run slightly higher tyre pressures and lower camber angles, many teams opted to do their single lap work earlier in the session than would normally be expected in FP2, before spending the majority of the session focusing on long-run pace.

Ferrari, particularly Raikkonen, showed promising long-stint pace, but Mercedes still ended up over 0.7s clear of the Scuderia and were faster still on the longer runs.

Sergio Perez

Both Force India drivers were able to split the Ferrari pair, as Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg set the fourth and fifth fastest times on a Monza circuit that suits the team’s low-drag chassis and plays to the strengths of its Mercedes engine. To underline that advantage, Hulkenberg topped the speed trap figures at 342kph, with Perez second at 340kph.

Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado were seventh and eighth for Lotus as the Enstone-based team also made the most of the performance advantage of the Mercedes engine. Grosjean, who missed FP1 as Jolyon Palmer made another practice outing in the Frenchman’s car, set a time of 1m25.497, just over 0.1s quicker than Maldonado.

Valtteri Bottas

The Williams pair of Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa finished ninth and tenth, which meant that the works Ferrari machines were the only non-Mercedes powered cars in the top ten. Bottas suffered an enormous lock up entering the pits late in the session as he struggled to slow down in time for the pitlane speed limit.

The Sauber drivers of Felipe Nasr and Marcus Ericsson also finished the session in unison in eleventh and twelfth. New rules that were introduced for the previous race in Belgium mean that teams can no longer inform their drivers of the optimum clutch settings on the formation lap for the race and Ericsson was heard complaining over the radio that his clutch was slipping: “I cannot do the start like this,” he said.

Daniel Ricciardo Monza

Daniel Ricciardo was the top Red Bull driver in a difficult second practice for the Milton Keynes squad as the Australian driver finished down in 13th place. After just 10 minutes of running in FP2, Ricciardo was forced to crawl back to the pits stuck in first gear after the team informed him not to change gear as he was suffering a problem with the transmission system, but he was able to get back out again.

Things were even worse for Daniil Kvyat in the second Red Bull. The Russian driver was the slowest driver on a time of 1m28.723 and only emerged from his pit box after 30 minutes of the session had passed. While he was able to complete 28 laps, a hydraulic issue at the halfway mark limited his running even further.

The Toro Rosso pair of Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz were the second and third fastest Renault powered runners, albeit down in P14 and P15. Sainz was another driver who locked up entering the pits and Verstappen had the wildest moment of the session when, after 35 minutes, he touched the outside kerb on the entry to the Ascari chicane and spun backwards into the gravel trap at high speed. He was fortunate not to hit the barriers and was able to escape, as his back wheels were not beached in the gravel.

Jenson Button

Fernando Alonso finished in 16th ahead of the Manor pair of Will Stevens and Roberto Merhi, but his McLaren teammate Jenson Button could only complete three laps after a water leak cost him the first 25 minutes of the session and then recurred, which stopped him running completely with an hour left on the clock.

Several drivers will take grid penalties for engine changes ahead of the race at Monza. McLaren have introduced its ninth power unit for both Alonso and Button and they will both lose ten grid places. The two drivers both ran the brand new unit in FP1, a unit that had been used in Hungary in FP2 and will complete the weekend with engine used two weeks ago at Spa.

Red Bull will introduce a sixth internal combustion unit of the season for its cars and Ricciardo will get a fifth turbocharger, MGU-H and MGU-K so will drop 25 places on the grid. Kvyat also takes a new turbo charger and so gets a penalty of 15 places.

Sainz will lose 10 places on the grid after his Toro Rosso squad opted to fit his fifth Renault power unit of 2015 after the Spaniard suffered an engine electrics failure at Spa.

FP2 Results:

Pos

1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m24.279s 27

2 Nico Rosberg Mercedes +0.021s 35

3 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari +0.759s 36

4 Sergio Perez Force India +0.999s 34

5 Nico Hulkenberg Force India +1.046s 43

6 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari +1.101s 39

7 Romain Grosjean Lotus +1.218s 41

8 Pastor Maldonado Lotus +1.234s 41

9 Valtteri Bottas Williams +1.368s 34

10 Felipe Massa Williams +1.612s 31

11 Felipe Nasr Sauber +1.835s 30

12 Marcus Ericsson Sauber +1.854s 32

13 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull +1.943s 27

14 Max Verstappen Toro Rosso +2.175s 38

15 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso +2.362s 50

16 Fernando Alonso McLaren +2.687s 31

17 Will Stevens Marussia +3.922s 29

18 Roberto Merhi Marussia +4.160s 27

19 Jenson Button McLaren +4.192s 3

20 Daniil Kvyat Red Bull +4.444s 28
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