Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel tops FP2 at Monza despite spin
Italian Grand Prix - FP2

Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel tops FP2 at Monza despite spin

01/09/2018

Sebastian Vettel went quickest in second practice for the Italian Grand Prix despite spinning out and hitting a wall during the session.

Vettel's headline time of 1:21.105 prompted cheers from the Monza tifosi, hoping to see Ferrari secure its first win on home tarmac since 2010. The German driver ended up leading a one-two, with Kimi Raikkonen 0.2s behind him in the other red car.

Vettel's session did not go completely smoothly, however. Sixty minutes into the session he spun out at the Parabolica -- Monza's high-speed final corner -- having previously run slightly wide at that part of the circuit on previous runs. Vettel's Ferrari spun across the gravel and tapped a wall, although he was able to return to the pits for a car check-up. The German driver was back on the circuit by the time the chequered flag fell and finished the afternoon with 22 laps to his name.

The session had been red flagged earlier for another incident, when Marcus Ericsson crashed heavily at Turn 1. The Swedish driver lost control at the fastest section of the Monza circuit after hitting the brakes, spitting him into the crash barrier to the left of the track. After somersaulting three times the Sauber came to a halt in the run-off area.

Replays later showed the Drag Reduction System (DRS) on the back of Ericsson's car remained open as he hit the brakes, which would have resulted in a significant loss of rear downforce at that moment. Ericsson walked away unharmed.

Behind the Ferraris were the Mercedes duo Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas. Hamilton finished marginally behind Raikkonen's time but will hope to be closer to championship rival Vettel come Saturday afternoon on a circuit where outright engine power is key.

The Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo finished a full second behind Vettel's lead time. Given the nature of the Monza circuit Red Bull does not expect to be close to the lead pair on outright pace. Ricciardo is also set to serve a hefty grid penalty for moving on to Renault's upgraded engine, meaning it would make sense for the Australian to be focusing more on race trim at this point in the weekend.

After going quickest in the rain-affected morning session, Force India continued its impressive pace by finishing best of the rest. Esteban Ocon managed to finish ahead of teammate Sergio Perez. Ferrari junior Charles Leclerc was ninth for Sauber despite being told to close his DRS manually following the incident involving Ericsson.

Renault and Haas, the two teams fighting for fourth in the championship, split the next four spaces: Nico Hulkenberg leading Romain Grosjean, Renault teammate Carlos Sainz and Kevin Magnussen. Having both recorded a top six finish in the wet on Friday morning Toro Rosso dropped back to its expected position, with Pierre Gasly in 13th and Brendon Hartley in 15th.

Behind, 17th-placed Lance Stroll was Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne, who look set for another miserable weekend in what is becoming an increasingly shambolic 2018 campaign for McLaren.

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