Italian GP 2017


Practice 1 Report - The wrong cars

Lewis Hamilton, Italian GP 2017
© Martin Trenkler


By Dan Knutson in Monza

The wrong cars took the honors in the opening round of practice for the Italian Grand Prix. This is Ferrari country, so the tifosi want to see Ferraris out in front. But Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas topped the times while the best Ferrari could do was third place with Sebastian Vettel.

The lineup for the weekend was: Mercedes - Hamilton and Bottas; Red Bull TAG Heuer - Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen; Ferrari - Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen; Force India Mercedes - Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon; Williams Mercedes - Felipe Massa and Lance Stroll; McLaren Honda - Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne; Renault - Nico Hulkenberg and Jolyon Palmer; Toro Rosso Renault - Daniil Kvyat and Carlos Sainz; Haas Ferrari - Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen; Sauber Ferrari - Marcus Ericsson and Pascal Wehrlein.

Antonio Giovinazzi was supposed to replace Magnussen in the Haas for FP1, but there was a threat of rain, so the team decided to give Magnussen the chance to run while the track was still dry.

The 11-turn 3.599-mile (5.793 km) Autodromo Nazionale Monza hosts Ferrari's home race.

"In terms of the driving it doesn't change anything," Ferrari driver Raikkonen said, "but obviously the biggest change here is that it's our home Grand Prix and it's quite a busy weekend - that's probably the biggest change from most of the other weekends, except Monaco that is the busiest. There are a lot of tifosi here each year, for us, but like all the weekends we try to fight for the win and hopefully we'll give them a good result. It's been to see in the last race that there was a lot of people it was a great atmosphere and it will be here too, especially for us as it is our own race."

The ambient temperature at the start of the 90-minute session was 72 degrees Fahrenheit (22 degrees Centigrade) and the track temperature was 75 degrees Fahrenheit (24 degrees Centigrade). There was a 60 percent chance of rain.

Ricciardo was the first in line to get on track. The drivers were anxious to get in some laps before it rained. His teammate Verstappen was having yet more car problems and was stuck in the garage.

Massa got on the boards first with a lap in 1:27.666. Then Hamilton lopped that down to a 1:22.964 followed by a 1:22.861. That was under last year's FP1 best of 1:22.959.

Juan Pablo Montoya holds the lap record of 1:19.525 which he set in 2004.

Bottas got down to a 1:22.252 and then a 1:22.086 on the soft tires. Vettel was third in the Ferrari but 1.1 seconds slower on the super soft.

Pirelli's compound choices for the weekend were medium, soft and super soft.

Twenty-five minutes into the session several drivers reported drops of rain. It was sunny on the main straight, but raining lightly elsewhere around the circuit.

At the 40-minute break the top 10 were: Bottas, Hamilton, Vettel, Perez, Verstappen, Raikkonen, Ricciardo, Ocon, Sainz and Kvyat.

Then Hamilton headed out on the super softs and clocked a 1:21.868. Bottas used the same compound to turn a 1:22.060. Hamilton responded with a 1:21.729. Vettel was now 0.923 of a second of the leader's pace.

Now Hamilton went even faster with a 1:21.537.

With 30 minutes remaining in the session the order was Hamilton, Bottas, Vettel, Raikkonen, Verstappen, Ricciardo, Perez, Ocon, Vandoorne and Massa.

Sainz had a spin and continued at Turn 11.

With 18 minutes remaining the track was officially declared wet. But it seemed pretty dry out there and a number of drivers were soon circulating on slicks,

The top 10 stayed the same with the exception of Ricciardo and Verstappen swapping places. So the wrong cars remained out front with Vettel third and 1.115 seconds off the pace.