Leclerc edges Hamilton in second free practice at Monza

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc remained at the top of the timesheet in FP2 on Friday, leading a session conducted once again under mixed conditions.

Running on Pirelli’s soft compound, Leclerc clocked with a 1m20.978s that beat Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton’s best time by 0.068s.

Sebastian Vettel, Valtteri Bottas and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen completed the top five.

  • 2019 Italian Grand Prix Free Practice 2 – Results

Teams and drivers welcomed the dry conditions that prevailed at the start of Friday’s second practice session, with everyone eager to take advantage of the track time.

The track was therefore buzzing with activity at the outset, with McLaren’s Carlos Sainz setting the first benchmark time.

Hamilton was quick to spring into action and take over however, laying down a 1m22.450s on the medium tyre that headed Leclerc by just 0.048s.

Ten minutes into the session, everyone except Lando Norris and Kevin Magnussen had set lap times, with the McLaren driver’s car diagnosed with a small oil leak.

Vettel knocked his teammate from second but a switch to the soft compound pushed Leclerc back to the top, almost a second clear of Hamilton’s best.

A few drizzles were reported around the track which incited drivers to take a break from the action. A red flag was displayed but only to allow the circuit’s sweeper to conduct some clean-up work.

With some 45 minutes remaining on the clock, a handful of cars broke the silence and the session resumed, with qualifying simulations and high-fuel runs now in order, albeit under mixed conditions.

With 30 minutes remaining, Hamilton jumped to second with the help of a tow, just 0.068s off Leclerc best time, while Vettel remained 0.201s adrift in front of Bottas, Verstappen and Albon.

With just ten minutes to go, and with McLaren having bolted the gearbox back on his MCL34, Norris finally emerged, with the task of validating that his car was now free of any issues.

Gradually, the rain worsened, forcing a few drivers, including Leclerc, to deal with some scrappy final moments.

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