Hamilton keeps Mercedes ahead as Rosberg closes in

2015 Italian Grand Prix second practice

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Mercedes led the second practice session at Monza, but the gap between their drivers was much closer, and their rivals weren’t as far behind.

Lewis Hamilton stayed in control, lowering the best time of the weekend to a 1’24.279 on the soft compound tyres. That was less than a tenth of a second off the pole position time he set last year, on medium compound tyres.

However team mate Nico Rosberg ended the session just 0.021s off his team mate, and set some strong times in the opening two sectors of the lap.

The top six had a familiar look from the first practice session, with Sebastian Vettel in third place ahead of the two Force Indias and the second Ferrari or Kimi Raikkonen. Ferrari’s disadvantage was not as great as it had been during the morning’s running, but Vettel was still over three-quarters of a second behind.

All eight Mercedes-powered cars featured in the top ten, while several of their rivals had a difficult session. A hydraulic problem delayed Daniel Ricciardo, who was 13th, while Daniil Kvyat had a gearbox problem and spent most of the session on the harder medium tyres, ending up at the bottom of the times.

Jenson Button, meanwhile, completed just three laps when he was told to pit due to an “abnormality” on his car.

Pos.No.DriverCarBest lapGapLaps
144Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’24.27927
26Nico RosbergMercedes1’24.3000.02135
35Sebastian VettelFerrari1’25.0380.75936
411Sergio PerezForce India-Mercedes1’25.2780.99934
527Nico HulkenbergForce India-Mercedes1’25.3251.04643
67Kimi RaikkonenFerrari1’25.3801.10139
78Romain GrosjeanLotus-Mercedes1’25.4971.21841
813Pastor MaldonadoLotus-Mercedes1’25.5131.23441
977Valtteri BottasWilliams-Mercedes1’25.6471.36834
1019Felipe MassaWilliams-Mercedes1’25.8911.61231
1112Felipe NasrSauber-Ferrari1’26.1141.83530
129Marcus EricssonSauber-Ferrari1’26.1331.85432
133Daniel RicciardoRed Bull-Renault1’26.2221.94327
1433Max VerstappenToro Rosso-Renault1’26.4542.17538
1555Carlos Sainz JnrToro Rosso-Renault1’26.6412.36250
1614Fernando AlonsoMcLaren-Honda1’26.9662.68731
1728Will StevensManor-Ferrari1’28.2013.92229
1898Roberto MerhiManor-Ferrari1’28.4394.16027
1922Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Honda1’28.4714.1923
2026Daniil KvyatRed Bull-Renault1’28.7234.44428

Second practice visual gaps

Lewis Hamilton – 1’24.279

+0.021 Nico Rosberg – 1’24.300

+0.759 Sebastian Vettel – 1’25.038

+0.999 Sergio Perez – 1’25.278

+1.046 Nico Hulkenberg – 1’25.325

+1.101 Kimi Raikkonen – 1’25.380

+1.218 Romain Grosjean – 1’25.497

+1.234 Pastor Maldonado – 1’25.513

+1.368 Valtteri Bottas – 1’25.647

+1.612 Felipe Massa – 1’25.891

+1.835 Felipe Nasr – 1’26.114

+1.854 Marcus Ericsson – 1’26.133

+1.943 Daniel Ricciardo – 1’26.222

+2.175 Max Verstappen – 1’26.454

+2.362 Carlos Sainz Jnr – 1’26.641

+2.687 Fernando Alonso – 1’26.966

+3.922 Will Stevens – 1’28.201

+4.160 Roberto Merhi – 1’28.439

+4.192 Jenson Button – 1’28.471

+4.444 Daniil Kvyat – 1’28.723

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Keith Collantine
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37 comments on “Hamilton keeps Mercedes ahead as Rosberg closes in”

  1. Several cuts were found in tyres after FP1 apparently.

    1. Oh & Bernie has told drivers & teams that they are not allowed to criticize Pirelli publicly in the future.

      1. @gt-racer Are you serious? That is just incredible. Anything more you can share?

        1. Bernie will have a separate meeting with Vettel later today where he’ll supposedly be told to say some kind words about Pirelli this weekend.

          I was also told that Michelin’s bid isn’t been taken all that seriously by Bernie because he has no interest in anyone other than Pirelli supplying tyres because he feels Pirelli are not only better for the show but also because they offer better commercial terms than Michelin would.
          The only reason he’s even looking at Michelin’s offer is because the FIA accepted it & therefore he is obliged to at least look at it.

          1. @gt-racer Not really surprised by the Michelin part, Mark Hughes on Motorsport Magazine said from the very beginning that since Michelin has never been all that willing to do what he says.
            The Vettel part is amazing, I didn’t see that coming. I didn’t expect him to go try to manipulate things that blatantly.
            Thanks for the info, as always =)

          2. Maybe they’ll just play backgammon.

          3. Or maybe he wants to congratulate him on his 2nd daughter!

        2. I heard he called Vettel for a slap on the wrists? Or Sky is making up things as usual.

        3. It’d have to be a pretty mellow slap on the wrist – Vettel is a 4x WDC and you’re not going to ruffle him and Bernie will know that.

          I think if such a meeting takes place it will be more that Bernie talks mano a mano with SV and asks him to tone it down for the sport.

          Speaking of which, Vettel clearly has toned it down already in his comments at the press conference – calling Pirelli professional in their approach, supporting their decision on pressures and camber, etc.

  2. I think there is some interesting gamesmanship going on between Hamilton and Rosberg. Their theoretical fastest laps comprising of ther best times in all three sectors put Rosberg ahead with a 1m23.999s – approx 0.3s faster than Hamilton’s best. Rosberg makes all of this is the first two sectors, and Hamilton makes up his time in the last sector. Interesting for qualifying.

    1. Theoretical best laps are often a nonsense though, you can improve a sector time in such a way as to ruin the next sector, they could be taken from radically different wing setting etc

      1. I doubt they would be pushing hard enough in a sector such that it would be detrimental to later sectors, it’s only P2 neither want to show their hand yet.

        1. Slow in, fast out versus fast in ,slow out could make those vital hundredths difference in individual sectors.

  3. There was no way this was going to end any differently. Mercedes used all their tokens, on an already vastly superior engine. This was never going to be pretty for anyone else.

    1. Precisely why something’s got to be done about this bore-fest.

      1. Yes, the other teams and engine suppliers need to get their collective acts together. I don’t like Mercedes dominance, but why should they be punished for doing a better job than everyone else?

        In any event, history has repeatedly shown that dominance in F1 doesn’t last forever.

        1. Sorry but Ferrari made improvements over the last 2 years and they couldn’t bring them whenever they wanted because of the limitations. If they were allowed the improvement last year, they would have been a lot more competitive and I also heard that they had to delay some of the improvements they wanted to introduce in Canada.

      2. An engine which another 3 teams have. It’s hardly Mercedes’ fault that Williams, for example, haven’t progressed sufficiently with other design aspects to bridge the gap.

        Anyhow, if Mercedes are going to dominate like Red Bull, we’re not even halfway through their reign yet. And about a 1/3 through Ferrari’s reign. Some perspective please.

        1. To quote another forum member:

          “Oh please! Where the hell did this “Red Bull domination” come from??? Just because Vettel and Red Bull won 4 in a row doesn’t mean Red Bull utterly dominated Formula 1. It was very close racing most of the time. I mean I remember everyone saying Red Bull was at best the 3rd fastest car in 2012 for most of the time… Either most of these people commenting on web haven’t actually watched those races, or they forget all the details of past seasons.”

          This applies to you.

        2. I think what Johaness is hinting at can best be shown by a little thought-experiment: Substract Hamilton from Merc and add a Rosberg-clone (someone who is always finishing right beneath Rosberg), and you still have them win both championships in 2014. That´s why it is refferred to as a year of domination by a team. Now substract Vettel from Red Bull 2010-2013, add a Webber-clone, and you have them win no drivers-title at all and only one constructors-championship. Hence there was no Red-Bull-domination.

          However, a domination by a team can hardly be anyone elses fault but that of their opponents.

          1. Red Bull dominated qualification. As far as the races went, I think it’s questionable to compare Rosberg and Webber as like relative to their team mates: Rosberg is on a higher level. Ferrari and sometimes McLaren were unquestionably closer to Red Bull, but its quibbling to say Red Bull didn’t dominate for a period. Maybe not as much – but that wasn’t my point anyhow. Also: Mercedes dominance is well-earned. Whereas Red Bull’s was often questionable (hence the numerous complaints from other teams).

          2. I think it’s questionable to compare Rosberg and Webber as like relative to their team mates

            That´s just another way of saying Hamilton had less advantage on Rosberg (at least during 2014) than Vettel had on Webber and is only slowly beginning to live up to his reputation in 2015.

            Also: Mercedes dominance is well-earned. Whereas Red Bull’s was often questionable (hence the numerous complaints from other teams).

            Complaints from other teams are not placed because of something being questionable, they are placed to try and get something out of it. Red Bull receiving more complaints was mostly due to more competitors being near and fighting them, but also due to them being a bit more vulnerable to be hit on the PR-side, having less historic strength as a brand-name.

          3. Rosberg is NOT on a higher level. Just because they have been close enough for the last 2 years with Hamilton, it doesn’t mean Rosberg is a better qualifier than Webber was. I’d say Hamilton was more likely to be underperforming. Not to mention the fact that Rosberg most definitely does not have the racecraft that Webber had.

          4. @crammond Also it was easier to find something aerodynamic to complain about. Though they also found something else on the engine side each season as well. Then again teams more often than not make formal complaints about the last race of the season if their drivers would have gained the championship as a result. McLaren in 2007, Ferrari in 2010 or 12 are some of the most recent ones. One of the biggest and loudest complaints was against Brawn in 2009.

          5. That´s just another way of saying Hamilton had less advantage on Rosberg (at least during 2014) than Vettel had on Webber and is only slowly beginning to live up to his reputation in 2015.

            Obviously it depends on how you want to spin it. I’d say simply that Vettel was much more in tune with the Red Bull than Webber, while Rosberg is fine with the car, the difference is really all down to their absolute talent difference. And Rosberg is not a poor driver. Nor Webber – I think he was as a great racer. However, not only was he far less consistent than Rosberg, there is also the question of internal favouritism towards Vettel – according to Webber of course.

            As for the complaints against Red Bull, it’s widely accepted that they were contravening the ‘essence’ of the rules relating to flexible body parts etc. that FIA couldn’t capture in their tests. The complaints weren’t spurious as you’re implying. The same goes for a number of other issues (engine mapping etc.).

          6. People seem to forget that Webber was usually qualifying just behind Vettel in the same way Rosberg is and the only reason many times didn’t end up finishing behind his team mate is because the guy was back at 9th or 10th after the first corner since he seemed incapable of a good start.
            No matter how dominant you say Merc is if Rosberg screwed his starts as much as Webber then he would have quit a fewer points compared to Hamilton also.

        3. I do wonder what’s preventing other Mercedes runners from upgrading their engines at the same races that the works team does, though. How much advance notice do they get of pending upgrades?

      3. Ferrari’s dominance ended when drastic rule changes were made and Red Bull’s dominance ended when drastic rule changes were made. The same may apply to Mercedes although as long as the engine rules remain the same they are likely to remain at the top.

        1. The only rule change that would truly be effective would be to put the driver back to decide things. No more radio contact with cars and drivers from start to finish, only pit signs allowed, would bring the WTC (world team championship) back to WDC (world driver championship). Protesters speak up!

  4. It’s very clear already that 3rd place will be either a Force India or a Ferrari. Even Sauber have hauled ahead of the Renault-powered cars this week thanks to their Ferrari engine.

    1. What about Williams? They might be ahead of Ferrari imo.

      1. I hope the Williams team will stop letting the driver’s down with poor strategy calls and slow pit stops. I’d love to see Bottas on the podium.

        1. Well maybe their drivers should step it up too. Especially in quali. We pretty much know that Vettel is a better qualifier than Massa-Bottas-Raikkonen. If they had a couple of tenths, half the time they would start the races ahead of Ferrari and probably finish ahead in some of them too.

    2. Force India’s race pace isn’t good enough to challenge for the podium. They were about 0,5 sec/lap slower than Ferrari on the FP2 long runs (Kimi/Soft vs Hulk/Soft).
      Williams should be the biggest threat to Ferrari. Their long run pace looked good (0,2 sec on the soft and 0,3 sec on the medium slower than Ferrari) and in qualifying they’ve got more power than Ferrari. They just have to hope it’s gonna be dry tomorrow.

  5. The gap is too large.

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