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Hamilton sets crushing pace ahead of Italian GP qualifying

Hamilton sets crushing pace ahead of Italian GP qualifying

F1 News

Hamilton sets crushing pace ahead of Italian GP qualifying

Hamilton sets crushing pace ahead of Italian GP qualifying

Lewis Hamilton set a blistering pace in the only practice session ahead of qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix.

It is a weekend that again sees F1 trial the sprint that made its debut in Silverstone, leading to a significant change in the schedule.

Unsurprisingly, with only one hour of practice ahead of qualifying, all drivers wasted no time in taking to Monza's 'Temple of Speed' to gain as much running as possible.

And it was Hamilton who set the pace around the fastest track on the calendar with a lap of one minute 20.926secs, and that on the medium tyre as Mercedes remarkably opted not to use the softs at all throughout the session.

The seven-time champion, who heads into this weekend three points adrift of Max Verstappen in the drivers' standings, finished 0.452s clear of the Red Bull driver.

McLaren's Lando Norris had split the duo late on with a lap of 1:21.202s, only for it to be deleted for exceeding track limits at the final corner, as occurred for a number of drivers.

Hamilton set the early pace with a lap of 1:22.262s on the medium compound before Perez, with a relatively fresh power unit in his Red Bull after it was fitted ahead of the Dutch Grand Prix on Sunday, edged ahead by 0.135s after 20 minutes.

Ahead of the soft-tyre runs, McLaren's Daniel Ricciardo put in a surprising lap to take over at the top of the timesheet by 0.025s from Perez before Bottas put himself in the mix with a 1:21.451s, which was eventually good enough for third fastest.

On soft tyres, Verstappen then went quickest by 0.073s before Hamilton produced his sublime leading lap, albeit on the yellow-marked Pirelli mediums.

Behind the leading trio, with Mercedes fully expected to have the power edge at this track, Aston Martin's Lance Stroll was three-quarters of a second down, ahead of last year's race winner Pierre Gasly in his AlphaTauri.

Sebastian Vettel in his Aston Martin and Ferrari's Carlos Sainz were the only other drivers to finish within a second of Hamilton, with Alpine's Fernando Alonso exactly a second behind his former McLaren team-mate.

Like Norris, Alonso's best lap on the softs was deleted, leaving his leading time to be on the mediums, similarly on Ricciardo who failed to improve on his 1:22.203s.

Perez ultimately finished 10th, followed by the second Ferrari of Charles Leclerc and Norris.

Williams' George Russell, fresh from being announced as a Mercedes driver for next season, was 17th, 2.166s adrift, with only team-mate Nicholas Latifi and Haas duo Nikita Mazepin and Mick Schumacher slower.

Italian Grand Prix first practice times

1. Lewis Hamilton [Mercedes] 1:20.926

2. Max Verstappen [Red Bull] +0.452

3. Valtteri Bottas [Mercedes] +0.525

4. Lance Stroll [Aston Martin] +0.750

5. Pierre Gasly [AlphaTauri] +0.793

6. Sebastian Vettel [Aston Martin] +0.898

7. Carlos Sainz [Ferrari] +0.988

8. Fernando Alonso [Alpine] +1.000

9. Daniel Ricciardo [McLaren] +1.077

10. Sergio Perez [Red Bull] +1.113

11. Charles Leclerc [Ferrari] +1.176

12. Lando Norris [McLaren] +1.177

13. Antonio Giovinazzi [Alfa Romeo] +1.344

14. Yuki Tsunoda [AlphaTauri] +1.604

15. Esteban Ocon [Alpine] +1.608

16. Robert Kubica [Alfa Romeo] +2.083

17. George Russell [Williams] +2.166

18. Nicholas Latifi [Williams] +2.516

19. Nikita Mazepin [Haas] +2.519

20. Mick Schumacher [Haas] +2.625

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