Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Monza, 2019

Leclerc stays ahead but Hamilton is close in second practice

2019 Italian Grand Prix second practice

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Charles Leclerc stayed on top in the second practice session for the Italian Grand Prix but the Ferrari driver was less than a tenth of a second faster than Lewis Hamilton.

The circuit had largely dried ahead of second practice but the rain returned during the session, sending the drivers back into the pits. As the track fell silent, a red flag was thrown to give marshals the chance to clear gravel.

Leclerc put his Ferrari ahead with a 1’20.978 but as the track dried again the Mercedes drivers made a concerted effort to beat his time, sharing the slipsteam between each other over several laps. But even with the assistance of Valtteri Bottas’s slipstream, Hamilton was almost a quarter of a second off the quickest Ferrari in the first sector, where engine performance counts most of all.

Hamilton couldn’t match Leclerc in the middle of the lap, but he nailed the final sector, ending up within a tenth of a second of last week’s winner. The leading pair were backed up by their team mates in third and foutrh.

Max Verstappen put in a strong showing for Red Bull, ending the session just three-thousandths of a second slower than Bottas. Alexander Albon was two-tenths away in the team’s other car.

All four Honda-powered cars appeared in the top 10. Pierre Gasly led the way for Toro Rosso, leading a very tight group which included his team mate, both Renaults and Romain Grosjean’s Haas covered by two-tenths of a second.

Following their promising showing in the morning, second practice was less rewarding for McLaren. Carlos Sainz Jnr could only manage 11th, and an oil leak limited Lando Norris’s running.

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Pos.No.DriverCarBest lapGapLaps
116Charles LeclercFerrari1’20.97837
244Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’21.0460.06832
35Sebastian VettelFerrari1’21.1790.20139
477Valtteri BottasMercedes1’21.3470.36934
533Max VerstappenRed Bull-Honda1’21.3500.37229
623Alexander AlbonRed Bull-Honda1’21.5890.61130
710Pierre GaslyToro Rosso-Honda1’22.1241.14642
88Romain GrosjeanHaas-Ferrari1’22.1531.17544
93Daniel RicciardoRenault1’22.2491.27136
1026Daniil KvyatToro Rosso-Honda1’22.2601.28237
1127Nico HulkenbergRenault1’22.3381.36037
1255Carlos Sainz JnrMcLaren-Renault1’22.4821.50432
1320Kevin MagnussenHaas-Ferrari1’22.5111.53342
147Kimi RaikkonenAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’22.5231.54535
1518Lance StrollRacing Point-Mercedes1’22.7061.72832
1611Sergio PerezRacing Point-Mercedes1’22.8821.90433
1799Antonio GiovinazziAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’23.0652.08735
184Lando NorrisMcLaren-Renault1’23.5612.58316
1988Robert KubicaWilliams-Mercedes1’23.7372.75929
2063George RussellWilliams-Mercedes1’24.3133.33523

Second practice visual gaps

Charles Leclerc – 1’20.978

+0.068 Lewis Hamilton – 1’21.046

+0.201 Sebastian Vettel – 1’21.179

+0.369 Valtteri Bottas – 1’21.347

+0.372 Max Verstappen – 1’21.350

+0.611 Alexander Albon – 1’21.589

+1.146 Pierre Gasly – 1’22.124

+1.175 Romain Grosjean – 1’22.153

+1.271 Daniel Ricciardo – 1’22.249

+1.282 Daniil Kvyat – 1’22.260

+1.360 Nico Hulkenberg – 1’22.338

+1.504 Carlos Sainz Jnr – 1’22.482

+1.533 Kevin Magnussen – 1’22.511

+1.545 Kimi Raikkonen – 1’22.523

+1.728 Lance Stroll – 1’22.706

+1.904 Sergio Perez – 1’22.882

+2.087 Antonio Giovinazzi – 1’23.065

+2.583 Lando Norris – 1’23.561

+2.759 Robert Kubica – 1’23.737

+3.335 George Russell – 1’24.313

Drivers more then ten seconds off the pace omitted.

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2019 Italian Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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27 comments on “Leclerc stays ahead but Hamilton is close in second practice”

  1. Assuming they will turn their qualy modes on tomorrow, looks like is still nobody’s game.

    At the top teams, drivers are 0.2sec behind their teamates. Vettel, Bottas and Albon. Interesting in a track that the engine does most of the work.

    Let’s hope Qualy is dry, so we can see what they got.

    1. Albon is going to beat Verstappen tomorrow, because Max is not going to strain his engine when he has to start at the back anyway.

      1. He might beat Max because of their starting positions, but I don’t see Max being conservative with the engine. I think he will still go for Max(imum) points.

        1. @robbie

          I was talking about qualifying, not the race.

          1. @aapje Yeah sorry about that, my bad. You did say tomorrow. I agree with you about tomorrow.

          2. You are going to see Max is going to do a full qualifying or untill he is in front of Lando Norris.

  2. “Mercedes drivers made a concerted effort to beat his time, sharing the slipsteam between each other over several laps. But even with the assistance of Valtteri Bottas’s slipstream, Hamilton was almost a quarter of a second off the quickest Ferrari in the first sector, where engine performance counts most of all.”
    Unbelievable this is happening given how Mercedes PU dominated 2014-2017 and was tagged genius in hybrid PU engineering!

    1. But it’s not just the PU, it’s the chassis too. Ferrari’s 2019 car is built more like for these kind of tracks, with less downforce.

    2. Ferrari have produced a car that can potentially win at 5 tracks of a 21 race season. You call that Amazing? Merc are still the front runners by a big margin. Still…enjoy Monza Ferrari fans, it’s gonna get ugly after this.

      1. Even then it’s not a given at all they’ll make it, look at the past winners, always mercedes in the hybrid era, even when ferrari had potential like 2018.

  3. Well, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Mercedes end up on top on sunday, considering they’re much better at setting up the car than Ferrari.

    Also, it appears that there’s isn’t much of a gap between between Toro Rossos and Red Bulls — at least, not as much as there has been in the past — though it’s something that a fine oberserver really should have noticed by now.

    Any explanation as to why Russell is so far removed from Kubica?

  4. I realize this is practice and I’m not trying to tie anything to these particular results. However, they nicely illustrate something I’d like to point out. Who your teammate is matters. The more that Leclerc develops and continues to get the better of Vettel the more it makes me think about that point.

    But Vettel is a 4-time champion, some might say. True. But when a particular team or car is dominant in an era there are races, stretches of races, or even seasons where the only real competition you have is with your teammate in the same car. So for at least 2 of his 4 championships, Vettel only had to beat Webber really. Similarly MSC over Barrichello at Ferrari. Hamilton over Rosberg/Bottas at Merc.

    But when your teammate is not a threat to you, it becomes that much less interesting and that much less of a feat. I think it would be fair to say that Rosberg pushed Hamilton, Bottas doesn’t. Ricciardo pushed Vettel, Raikkonen didn’t. Verstappen pushed Ricciardo. And now Leclerc is pushing Vettel. Maybe it is just me, but when seasons are already over way too soon, the only real interest is in situations like Vettel and Leclerc at one team.

    And that is why I think it is lame for Mercedes to keep Bottas. And I hope RBR put a serious driver in the second seat for next season.

    1. The only reason Rosberg looked closer to Hamilton was because Hamilton had much more Technical issues than Rosberg did. When both had a properly working car, Rosberg got beaten just as badly by Hamilton as Bottas is now.

      Besides, intra team rivalry hardly ever produces great racing. Especially at Mercedes where they pretty much eliminate the chances of overtaking during the race. Unless the driver behind really is lots faster.

      A team just can’t do much to attack it’s own drivers. True exciting racing needs to come from competing with another team.

      In 2017 Ferrari and Mercedes were on par and in 2018 Ferrari had clearly the better car. So the rivalry should have come from the designated Ferrari #1 driver, bit he failed to bring it.

      1. Mmm….. NO. Rosberg is better overall than BOT. More of a fighter for sure.

        1. Rosberg was closer in the years HAM ended up winning it. Unlike BOT, Nico was a test for Lewis.

          Might have to call him ‘Valtteri Ervine’ and while were at it, let’s call the other #2 driver ‘Seb Barrichello’!

  5. @f1osaurus – I feel like you just want to argue. You would really rather see a #1 driver at Merc, Fer, and RBR and someone who cannot push in the other seat? If so, please stop reading here. We disagree. That’s all.

    During their time together, Hamilton had 32 wins and 35 poles. Rosberg had 22 wins and 29 poles. That is 69% of Hamilton’s win number and 83% of his pole number. And Rosberg lost on average by 29pts per season (though he won a season).
    During their time together, Hamilton has had 28 wins and 26 poles. Bottas has had 5 wins and 10 poles. Or 18% of Hamilton’s win number and 34% of Hamilton’s pole number. Bottas has lost (or is losing) on average by 95pts per season.

    No one said anything about 2016. No one said Rosberg was better than Hamilton. Rosberg was better than Bottas is. There is no way around that. I’m sure you will spin off into some other subject entirely but the data is clear.

    As for intrateam, I already said above that

    …when seasons are already over way too soon, the only real interest is in situations like Vettel and Leclerc at one team.

    Yes, I would prefer interteam battles, but that’s not likely to occur without some massive failures at Mercedes. And given that no one mentioned 2016, and you had to trot out the “but the failures!!!!,” I cannot imagine anyone really wants to see this season become interesting only through DNFs.

    So. Given that interteam battles have not been that great since 2012, it would be nice to see someone else in a top seat. There are more than 3 good drivers. I don’t think it is crazy or wrong to want to see the best 5 or 6 drivers in the best 5 or 6 seats. Because you know what is better than 1 or 2 drivers fighting for wins? Six.

    P.S. I get why teams might not want two great drivers. But teams want a lot of stuff that benefits them and no one else. So I’m not going to really care about what they want.

    1. Supposed to go above, but whatever.

      1. @hobo I agree and I’ll just sum up the Rosberg/Bottas thing this way. With LH/NR I was enthralled with their rivalry. I thought it was great. With LH/VB I have not felt that way once. No wonder LH wants more of VB.

        Just to add something I have said before. I will always respect Toto Wolff for getting that when they had the dominant cars they did, particularly from 2014-2016, he knew that if he did not let both drivers settle things on the track, we’d only have more of MS/Ferrari and no real racing from the only two cars capable of winning the Championships. So he let two gladiators duke it out on track without stringent orders. He then lost Nico having wanted two more years of the rivalry through 2018 by re-signing him, and then came VB…no threat to LH, but TW had SV competing a bit with LH so no need to put on the show for the world anymore.

        The only ones who benefit from teams that have a strong and a weak driver, with peace and harmony on the team, is the team. The global audience loses out when top teams do not have two legit gladiators there duking it out on track. TW has mentioned that in order for VB to compete with LH the gloves will have to come off, and the roses and kittens lovey dovey stuff would have to end anyway. Anyhoo, it’s not like TW wanted VB. His hand was forced. He wanted more LH/NR. Good for him. Good for us. Too bad Nico retired.

        1. @robbie – I agree with this. And you are right that Wolff/Merc didn’t have a lot of choice in initially signing BOT. However, they have re-signed him more than once now. That is where I am disappointed.

          1. @hobo Yeah true. Fair comment.

    2. You’re overlooking the competition effect, when there’s no competition it’s easy for bottas or rosberg to score 2nd places, when there is they just fall back, happened to bottas, didn’t happen to rosberg as he never had a championship contending mercedes that wasn’t dominant.

      1. @esploratore True but isn’t the point that Nico was glued to LH much more than VB has been. If VB was glued to LH more, he’d keep opponents behind him. Sometimes even LH. Can you see VB beating LH 7 races in a row? They’re in dominant cars at the majority of tracks. Enough of them to Champion. Best run team. VB doing better would elevate their level of dominance. There’s just no punch there.

        The proof? It’s all too friendly in the garages, vs. the potent, snarly, tense rivalry that enthralled us. There would never have been the exciting LH/NR on/off track interaction without the hard racing being there. Were NR a lesser opponent, he wouldn’t have had the combative stuff to back up any clashing of egos including in their case from being old friends/foes. If only LH and VB would rub tires now and again. You likely won’t have anyone bothering you for second, when you’re literally glued to the leader.

      2. @esploratore – Not overlooking. It is something I considered. But the point is that both comparisons HAM/ROS and HAM/BOT have a common denominator, Hamilton. So it doesn’t really matter if competition is closer because that is not the point. Look how many more poles ROS got than BOT. Look how many more wins ROS got than BOT. To get a pole or a win, you have to be ahead of HAM, which is the ‘control’ in this comparison (if you will).

        I could have used a simple, who finishes ahead stat. But without doing it now I have a strong feeling that would be the same thing. Anyone saying that BOT is just as good as ROS was needs to prove it. I feel I’ve proven that ROS was competition for HAM and BOT is not.

    3. @hobo No I simply feel your rant is nonsensical. battles between the fastest drivers of two teams are immeasurably more exciting to watch than some intra team battle which is always going to be “managed” by the team.

      No one said Rosberg was better than Hamilton. Rosberg was better than Bottas is. There is no way around that

      Yes there is. Like I explained, Rosberg only looked better because he consistently had less technical issues. If anything, Bottas now has more issues than Hamilton. Take the races were neither had issues and Hamilton out performed Rosberg just as much as he does Bottas now.

      Also even if Rosberg messed up, he would get an almost guaranteed P2. In 2017 and especially 2018, Mercedes did have no dominance. So that’s tougher on the slightly slower performing driver too. Rosberg could simply follow Hamilton and would have no threat from behind. While since 2017, simply getting the second best strategy can already be bad enough to lose a place to the car behind.

      Just look at how Verstappen kept splitting the Ferrari’s (in the first part of the season) simply because of that.

      1. @f1osaurus – You always say that my arguments are nonsensical. Yet my arguments are at least backed by data. Perhaps we can quibble on the data used or not used, but you bring generalizations, blanket statements, and opinions of team staff (remember how Ferrari had the best car according to you?)

        I already stipulated in my reply above that I would prefer interteam battles, but as I said in my initial comment and repeated above… “…when seasons are already over way too soon, the only real interest is in situations like Vettel and Leclerc at one team.” Maybe you don’t think the WDC is decided already. If so, THAT is your argument. Because if you assume it is over as I do, then you get to my point above.

        Rosberg did not look better because he had fewer technical issues. On DNFs (including classifications but non-finishes), ROS had 9 and HAM had 7 in their years together. I can already hear you saying, but DNFs aren’t the whole story!!! I agree. But you go compile the stats for every issue that delayed a practice run, stopped a car on track during practice, impacted a qualifying session, when they got held up, an engine mode malfunction, and everything in the race. Go ahead, I’ll wait. Until then, races = points. And especially for 3 of the 4 years they were together, Mercs could start from the back and finish second. So on DNFs, it was pretty close to even, but ROS had more DNFs.

        I’ve actually done the math on “when they both finish” etc. If you take into account DNFs, and account for points as fairly as possible (by filling in ‘lost’ race finishes using average points per race for that driver for that season), guess what? Hamilton finishes ahead of Rosberg by only 22pts per season on average, rather than the actual 28.5. Because Rosberg had more DNFs.

        The point about competition is irrelevant here. I’m not saying that ROS was better because he had more points or more second places—though those are worth noting. The point is that ROS was closer to HAM. HAM is the point of of comparison. If ROS beat HAM to pole and to wins more often than BOT has, THAT IS THE &$*#ING POINT!!!! ROS was better competition to HAM than BOT is.

        Every year the two teammates have the same car. If Hamilton can put up 12 wins (as an example) and Rosberg puts up 8, that means Rosberg beat Hamilton that many times. If Hamilton puts up 11 wins and Bottas puts up 0, that has absolutely nothing to do with competition. The car is clearly capable of winning. A lot. And Hamilton gets it there. Bottas does so far less often. And he beats Hamilton far less often. That’s it. If Bottas cannot beat Hamilton very often, the competition does not matter. Take away points and places other than first. Head to head, Rosberg was better against Hamilton than Bottas is.

        Look, if all the data in the world means nothing and all you care about is what you think the right answer is, then we can stop here. Leclerc versus Hamilton was great yesterday. But it is too little, too late in my opinion. And it is unlikely to continue this season as Ferrari likely will not be favored at the remaining tracks. At least Vettel vs Leclerc is interesting. Bottas versus Hamilton is not.

        1. @hobo

          You always say that my arguments are nonsensical.

          Because they always are. F1 is just not your thing.

          If ROS beat HAM to pole and to wins more often than BOT has, THAT IS THE &$*#ING POINT!!!! ROS was better competition to HAM than BOT is.

          No, not if that only happened because Hamilton wasn’t able to compete due to technica issues. THAT IS THE &$*#ING POINT!!!!

          Seriously, just knock it off with your pretend insight. It’s all based on nonsense. You have literally no clue. At all.

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