Monza, FP1: Perez heads rain-affected opening practice

Raikkonen 2nd, Ocon 3rd

By Franck Drui

31 August 2018 - 12:35
Monza, FP1: Perez heads rain-affected

Racing Point Force India driver Sergio Perez, topped a wet opening practice session for the Italian Grand, outpacing Ferrari’s Kimi Räikkönen by more than half a second. Perez’s team-mate Esteban Ocon took third place ahead of the Toro Rosso of Brendon Hartley on a timesheet given an unfamiliar look due to the conditions.

After Räikkönen made a late improvement to take P1, Perez jumped to the top of the order with his final lap of the 90-minute session, as track conditions began to improve as the rain abated. The Mexican’s late lap prevented Hartley and Honda-powered Toro Rosso from setting the fastest time of the session.

The session began in heavy rain, but both Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo and Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg were quick to take to the track. Ricciardo, though, was quickly back to the garage, complaining of low power. The Australian spent a short spell in the garage as his team checked for issues and he was able to rejoin the action shortly after the half hour mark and he would eventually climb to fifth on the timesheet behind Hartley and 1.2s adrift of Perez’s P1 time.

As the session headed towards the half way point conditions began to improve and the times began to tumble, with the Mercedes cars of Lewis Hamilton and then Valtteri Bottas sitting at the top of the order.

Max Verstappen then moved ahead of the Mercedes duo with a lap of 1:35.665. The Dutchman’s time, on a drying track, was good enough to allow him to hold onto top spot until Hartley arrived with a lap of 1:35.024 in the closing minutes, with teasm-mate Pierre Gasly slotting into P2.

Ricciardo then split the Toro Rossos, with a lap of 1:35.207, before Räikkönen, Ocon and Perez demoted Hartley with last gasp laps on track that while still not dry enough for slicks, appeared to be rapidly approaching the crossover point from intermediate tyres.

01 Sergio Perez Force India Mercedes 1:34.000 18
02 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:34.550 28
03 Esteban Ocon Force India Mercedes 1:34.593 17
04 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso Honda 1:35.024 17
05 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Tag Heuer 1:35.207 13
06 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso Honda 1:35.438 19
07 Max Verstappen Red Bull Tag Heuer 1:35.665 10
08 Carlos Sainz Renault F1 1:35.995 15
09 Nico Hulkenberg Renault F1 1:36.107 15
10 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes AMG 1:36.238 8
11 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes AMG 1:36.546 6
12 Charles Leclerc Sauber Ferrari 1:36.648 10
13 Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari 1:37.066 13
14 Fernando Alonso McLaren Renault 1:37.426 14
15 Romain Grosjean Haas Ferrari 1:37.683 13
16 Marcus Ericsson Sauber Ferrari 1:37.790 11
17 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:37.867 4
18 Lance Stroll Williams Mercedes 1:37.929 10
19 Sergey Sirotkin Williams Mercedes 1:38.253 8
20 Lando Norris McLaren Renault 1:38.282 9


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