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Italian GP 2016


Practice 2 Report - Token Power

Lewis Hamilton
© The Cahier Archive


By Dan Knutson in Monza

Ferrari used up the last three of its 32 "tokens" to upgrade its power unit prior to the Italian Grand Prix. The engines are definitely more powerful than they were, but not powerful enough to match or beat Mercedes which has better engines and a better chassis. The lap times in Free Practice 2 proved that, with Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg about half a second quicker than Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen.

The ambient temperature at the start of the 90-minute session was 84 degrees Fahrenheit (29 degrees Centigrade) and the track temperature was 108 degrees Fahrenheit (42 degrees Centigrade.) There was zero percent chance of rain.

The line-up for the weekend was: Mercedes - Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg. Ferrari - Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen. Williams Mercedes - Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas. Red Bull TAG Heuer - Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen. Force India Mercedes - Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez. Renault - Kevin Magnussen and Jolyon Palmer. Toro Rosso Ferrari - Daniil Kvyat and Carlos Sainz. Sauber Ferrari - Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr. McLaren Honda - Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button. Manor Mercedes - Pascal Wehrlein and Esteban Ocon. Haas Ferrari - Romain Grosjean and Esteban Gutierrez.

Rosberg had been quickest in FP1 with a lap in 1:22.959 using Pirelli's soft compound tires.

Wehrlein was the first driver out on track. As in FP1, some drivers were running Pirelli's experimental tires.

Raikkonen posted the first quick lap time - 1: 25.163 on the medium tires- and then Vettel beat that with a 1:24.456. Vettel then lowered his time to a rounded 1:24.444, only to have Hamilton, on the soft tires, clock a 1:23.732.

Rosberg was in third place after turning a 1:24.569 on the medium compound Pirellis.

Grosjean has some slides, and radioed in that he was struggling with understeer in Turns 6 and 7. In general, however, there was not a lot of drama going on out on the track. Then, 25 minutes into the session, Ricciardo used the soft tires to move into second with a 1:24.115.

Vettel then did a run on the super soft Pirellis to clock a 1:23.254 to take over first place. He didn't stay here for long, as the super soft-shod Rosberg did a 1:22.994 and Hamilton a 1:22.801.

Thirty minutes into FP2, the top 10 were: Hamilton, Rosberg, Vettel, Ricciardo, Gutierrez, Bottas, Raikkonen, Alonso, Massa and Verstappen.

It didn't stay that way for long, however, as other drivers tried out the super soft tires. The order was now Hamilton, Rosberg, Vettel, Ricciardo, Verstappen, Bottas, Button, Massa, Perez and Gutierrez with just over 50 minutes remaining.

Ocon would not be taking part in those 50 minutes as his Manor came to a halt at Turn 6. The marshals pushed it behind the barriers. Raikkonen, meanwhile, put his Ferrari into the fourth slot.

Soon the drivers were into their long runs. Just after the midpoint of FP2, Hamilton headed out for an 18-lap stint on the super softs.

Verstappen, however, did a run on new super softs 60 minutes into the session and moved ahead of Ricciardo to take over fifth place.

"We're seeing a 16-lap stint so far from Nico Rosberg on the super soft. Crucial data for anyone looking at a one-stopper," Pirelli tweeted. In the end, Rosberg got nearly 20 laps out of the super softs. The race is 53 laps long.

With 11 minutes remaining, everybody but Massa, who had brake problems, was on track. He got back in action with seven minutes to go.

The top 10 at the end of FP2 were: Hamilton, Rosberg, Vettel, Raikkonen, Verstappen, Ricciardo, Alonso, Bottas, Grosjean and Button.