Italian GP 2017


Practice 2 Report - Fightback

Valtteri Bottas, Italian GP
© Martin Trenkler


By Dan Knutson in Monza

Ferrari was worryingly off the pace in Free Practice 1 for the Italian Grand Prix as Sebastian Vettel could only get within 1.1 seconds of the leading Mercedes. But Ferrari fought back in FP2. Vettel was still only third fastest, but now just 0.14 of a second slower than Valtteri Bottas who led the session in his Mercedes.

The lineup for the weekend was: Mercedes - Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas; Red Bull TAG Heuer - Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen; Ferrari - Sebastian 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.

Hamilton was fastest in FP1 with a time of 1:21.537 using Pirelli's super soft tires. The other compounds available were the soft and medium.

Haas drivers Grosjean and Magnussen got things going in FP2.

The ambient temperature at the start of the 90-minute session was 77 degrees Fahrenheit (25 degrees Centigrade) and the track temperature was 95 degrees Fahrenheit (35 degrees Centigrade).

Raikkonen, on the softs, set the early pace with a 1:22.750. But Bottas quickly beat that with a 1:22.475 and a 1:22.393. All the drivers used the soft compound at the start of the session.

It took Hamilton a while to get out of the garage, but when he did he immediately topped the charts with a time of 1:22.103.

Ricciardo tried the super softs 20 minutes into the session but was only sixth best with a 1:22.752. Hamilton meanwhile got down to a 1:21.956.

The order was now Mercedes, Ferrari, Red Bull with most of the drivers in the garage as the half-hour mark approached.

Verstappen was on track on the super softs, and moved up to third with a lap of 1:22.409.

"Looks like I need to be harder with the tires," he radioed.

Vettel became the first of the Ferrari/Mercedes drivers to try the super softs, and he moved into first with a 1:21.546.

Stroll had a spin at the Ascari chicane but got going again.

Then Bottas did a super soft run that put him on top with a 1:21.406. Hamilton's run put him second with a 1:21.462.

So after the round of runs the order was Bottas, Hamilton, Vettel, Raikkonen, Verstappen, Ricciardo, Massa, Ocon, Sainz and Hulkenberg.

Vandoorne was on the move and moved into seventh place. And Alonso climbed to ninth.

As usual, the teams used the latter part of FP2 for long runs. The final top 10 ended up as: Bottas, Hamilton, Vettel, Raikkonen, Verstappen, Ricciardo, Vandoorne, Alonso, Ocon and Massa.