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F1 - Mercedes on top in final practice for Italian Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton led a Mercedes 1-2 in final practice for the Italian Grand Prix, with the seven-time beating team-mate Valtteri Bottas by two tenths of a second in a session interrupted by heavy crash involving Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz.

The session, devoted largely to information gathering for the afternoon’s sprint qualifying and tomorrow’s race saw Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez lead the way early on. Perez initially set the pace on medium tyres with a lap of 1:24.870 but when championship leader Verstappen emerged 15 minutes into the session on soft tyres he quickly claimed top spot with lap time of 1:24.006 before working his way to a best time of 1:23.754.

The Red Bulls sat at the top of the order when the session was red-flagged for Sainz’s crash after 26 minutes. The Spaniard lost control of his Ferrari midway through the Ascari chicane and went hard and nose-first into the barries on the left side of the track. “I had a massive crash,” he told his team before adding: “That hurt bit but I’m OK.” The red flags were displayed and running was halted for almost 13 minutes.

A tough session for the Italian squad was made more difficult when five minutes before the end of the session Charles Leclerc radioed the Ferrari pit wall telling them that he had to stop and that he would explain when he returned to the garage. He boxed and did not take any further part in the session.

Soon after the resumption Hamilton used soft tyres to post a lap of A lap time of 1:23.246 to jump ahead of Verstappen. Bottas meanwhile moved to second place on medium tyres.

Perez, took fourth place ahead of Alpine’s Esteban Ocon, while Robert Kubica finished sixth for Alfa Romeo ahead of team-mate Antonio Giovinazzi. Fernando Alonso rounded out the top 10 for Alpine.

2021 FIA Formula 1 Italian Grand Prix - Free Practice 2
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 25 1:23.246
2 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 24 1:23.468 0.222
3 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing 23 1:23.662 0.416
4 Sergio Perez Red Bull Racing 29 1:23.917 0.671
5 Esteban Ocon Alpine 20 1:24.263 1.017
6 Robert Kubica Alfa Romeo 28 1:24.280 1.034
7 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo 26 1:24.502 1.256
8 Fernando Alonso Alpine 16 1:24.539 1.293
9 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri 24 1:24.654 1.408
10 Lando Norris McLaren 27 1:24.665 1.419
11 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 21 1:24.770 1.524
12 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren 24 1:24.774 1.528
13 Nicholas Latifi Williams 23 1:24.805 1.559
14 George Russell Williams 22 1:25.083 1.837
15 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri 32 1:25.422 2.176
16 Nikita Mazepin Haas 23 1:25.729 2.483
17 Lance Stroll Aston Martin 28 1:25.763 2.517
18 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin 28 1:25.935 2.689
19 Mick Schumacher Haas 25 1:26.012 2.766
20 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 14 1:26.124 2.878