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Max fastest in first free practice in Monza

Published on 01 September 2023 by Misha van der Kroon

Max Verstappen set the fastest time during the first free practice session of the Italian Grand Prix. At the Autodromo Nazionale Monza, the reigning World Champion set a time of 1:22.657 on the hard tyre. He was almost five hundredths faster than Carlos Sainz in the Ferrari. The third fastest time was set by Sergio Perez, and Charles Leclerc and George Russell completed the top five. The hard tyre proved to be the fastest this session, as the top five all clocked their times on that compound. Due to this weekend’s modified qualifying format, many drivers were on the same tyre for a longer period of time, so the fastest times were mainly set in the beginning of the session.

It is partly cloudy in Monza, with a temperature of 25 degrees and a track temperature of 37 degrees. For this first session of this weekend, Felipe Drugovich will drive the Aston Martin of Lance Stroll. Liam Lawson is driving his first full Formula 1 weekend in the car of Daniel Ricciardo, who has not yet recovered from the injury to his hand. It is immediately busy on track when the session starts. Max Verstappen also goes out on track. He clocks a 1:24.969 on the hard tyre, a time he improves a moment later to 1:23.479, and then to 1:23.027. With that time, the Dutchman puts himself at the top of the time sheets. 

Meanwhile, both drivers of Alfa Romeo have a problem with their car: the car goes into an anti-stall, and they are both taken back to their pit boxes. After Verstappen improved his own time to a 1:22.657, he enters the pits. The hard tyre seems to be the fastest at the moment, as the entire top five is driving around on them. Twenty minutes into the session, Verstappen, Leclerc, Perez, Sainz and Hamilton are the fastest men on track.

Halfway through the session, Max reports over the radio that he has too much helmet-lift. Bottas and Zhou are out on track again, but report that they are still not happy with the Alfa Romeo. The car is impossible to steer, and they both enter the pits again.

With over twenty minutes to go, Verstappen pits, and shortly after rejoins the track on the same hard tyre. Many drivers are still out on the same tyres, because of the modified qualifying format this weekend. In this new qualifying format, it is mandatory to use the hard tyres in Q1, the medium tyres in Q2 and the soft tyres in Q3. The amount of tyre sets each team has for the whole weekend, has been reduced. Because of this, lap times are barely improved in the final part of the practice session. 

At the end of the session, Max Verstappen is still on top of the time sheets. Carlos Sainz clocks the second fastest time, and Sergio Perez sets the third fastest time on the clock. Leclerc and Russell complete the top five of this first practice session in Monza.

Contest Italian GP: win a Red Bull Racing Team Polo 2023!

Results first free practice Italy:

1Max VerstappenVERRed Bull Racing Honda RBPT1:22.657 30
2Carlos SainzSAIFerrari1:22.703+0.046s27
3Sergio PerezPERRed Bull Racing Honda RBPT1:22.834+0.177s29
4Charles LeclercLECFerrari1:22.966+0.309s21
5George RussellRUSMercedes1:23.189+0.532s27
6Fernando AlonsoALOAston Martin Mercedes1:23.214+0.557s23
7Lando NorrisNORMcLaren Mercedes1:23.241+0.584s21
8Lewis HamiltonHAMMercedes1:23.269+0.612s25
9Yuki TsunodaTSUAlphaTauri Honda RBPT1:23.271+0.614s22
10Alexander AlbonALBWilliams Mercedes1:23.444+0.787s17
11Oscar PiastriPIAMcLaren Mercedes1:23.446+0.789s23
12Logan SargeantSARWilliams Mercedes1:23.661+1.004s20
13Liam LawsonLAWAlphaTauri Honda RBPT1:23.833+1.176s28
14Pierre GaslyGASAlpine Renault1:23.931+1.274s25
15Valtteri BottasBOTAlfa Romeo Ferrari1:23.952+1.295s16
16Nico HulkenbergHULHaas Ferrari1:24.067+1.410s22
17Esteban OconOCOAlpine Renault1:24.090+1.433s25
18Felipe DrugovichDRUAston Martin Mercedes1:24.140+1.483s23
19Kevin MagnussenMAGHaas Ferrari1:24.217+1.560s23
20Zhou GuanyuZHOAlfa Romeo Ferrari1:24.232+1.575s16