Italian GP FP1 Report: Hamilton Flexes Mercedes’ Strength Ahead of F1 Qualifying Showdown

Published 09/10/2021, 9:35 AM EDT
Formula One F1 – Italian Grand Prix – Autodromo Nazionale Monza, Monza, Italy – September 10, 2021 Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton during practice REUTERS/Jennifer Lorenzini


After an exciting week of announcements, F1 drivers now shift their attention to Monza for the Italian GP. With the second sprint qualifying race weekend taking place at the ‘Temple of Speed’, 20 of the world’s best drivers took part in the first free practice session of the weekend.

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During the session, teams took to testing their tires for formulating race strategies right from the get-go. However, they moved to qualifying simulations later on, in order to stay sharp for qualifying later today.

Red Bull and Mercedes resumed their battle at the top of the timesheets as the championship battle intensified. Despite the Silver Arrows not using soft tires, Lewis Hamilton pipped Max Verstappen to top the session.

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Mercedes look to have the upper hand ahead of Italian GP qualifying

Verstappen went back to the top of the driver’s championship after an impressive win in Zandvoort last weekend. However, Hamilton put in a strong lap on medium tires to throw down the gauntlet in Monza.

In fact, Verstappen’s lap was just seven-hundredths quicker than Valtteri Bottas, who was also on medium tires. Verstappen’s teammate Sergio Perez, who topped the session briefly, fell back to 10th place, highlighting his struggles with his single-lap pace once again.

Formula One F1 – Italian Grand Prix – Autodromo Nazionale Monza, Monza, Italy – September 10, 2021 Red Bull’s Sergio Perez during practice REUTERS/Jennifer Lorenzini

During the session, Verstappen complained about his Red Bull‘s balance on the rear end. With qualifying in a few hours, the Austrian outfit have a lot of work to do in order to stop their German rivals from getting the upper hand.

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Multiple teams stake their claim in the midfield battle

Aston Martin, who are sporting a slice of James Bond on their cars, enjoyed a successful session. During their stint on soft tires, Lance Stroll took P4, while Sebastian Vettel took P6

Formula One F1 – Italian Grand Prix – Autodromo Nazionale Monza, Monza, Italy – September 10, 2021 Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel during practice REUTERS/Jennifer Lorenzini

Pierre Gasly, who will race for AlphaTauri next year, took P5 after displaying exceptional pace. With Carlos Sainz taking P7 and Charles Leclerc P11, Ferrari finished higher than McLaren. However, the British outfit saw lap times deleted, which means they could fare better in qualifying later today. Fernando Alonso, who looks back to his best again, finished the session P8.

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Sanket Nair

624 articles

Sanket Nair is an F1 Author at EssentiallySports. A Sports Management graduate, he is a huge fan of Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo and hopes to see Red Bull break Mercedes' dominance and win the World Championship soon. Sanket has been hooked to the sport ever since he watched the battle for the 2010 World Championship go down to the wire at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

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