Italian GP: Charles Leclerc fastest in first practice

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By Andrew Benson
Chief F1 author at Monza
The Charles Leclerc of ferrari ended an incident-strewn, practice speediest at the Grand Prix.
Before the drivers switched to slicks on, alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen and Racing Point’s Sergio Perez crashed in the wet conditions early on.
Leclerc, fresh from his maiden success in Belgium, was 0.306 seconds quicker than the McLaren’s Carlos Sainz.
Sainz Lando Norris was third ahead of Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton.
Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel held in the fastest part of this session in the end the world champion. Hamilton was not slower than the German but would not let him by.
Vettel ended the session appeared fastest, 2.602secs slower than Leclerc.
The F1 field has convened at Monza five times after rushing in the shadow of the death of the Formula 2 driver Anthoine Hubert to the eve of the Grand Prix.
Several drivers have revealed their feelings about the way they have been faced by it with the ever-present dangers of the sport in a more immediate manner when they have become used to and Hubert’s reduction.
Norris, by way of example, has revealed that his father was ill after Hubert’s injury, which he feels comfortable reassuring his parents who he is not likely to be hurt.
“I have to tell him that I’m OK, but it seems bad,” Norris explained. “It is what I wish to say. I am sure every motorist does and we have what happened last weekend. I’m more worried about reassuring him now.”
He admitted that Hubert’s wreck was”still in my mind”.
Storms in northern Italy meant the motorists were fulfilled by a track and the treacherousness of ailments became evident.
Raikkonen lost charge at Parabolica, turning to the obstacles and bringing out a red flag while his car was recovered.
Not long after the session resumed, his Racing Point crashed to the departure of the Ascari chicane.
And there were a number of moments and spins as motorists struggled to find the limits in the slippery conditions and also with’intermediate’ tyres which Red Bull’s Max Verstappen said over the radio were”too hard”.
There was a third red flag after Pierre Gasly beached his Toro Rosso after a spin at the first chicane on the kerb.
From the close of the session, there had been an astonishing performance from Red Bull brand new boy Alexander Albon, who ended up fifth fastest in his initial session for his team.
As the team assess what to do to a team-mate to get Verstappen in 33, the Anglo-Thai was promoted from Toro Rosso of this season to Red Bull.
Verstappen finished the session seventh quickest, a second slower and supporting also the Toro Rosso.
Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas had a twist at the close of the session and ended up ninth fastest, 1.8secs slower compared to Hamilton.

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