Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Monza, 2020

Mercedes on top as Verstappen spins in first practice

2020 Italian Grand Prix first practice

Posted on

| Written by

Valtteri Bottas topped the first practice session for the Italian Grand Prix, with a lap of 1’20.703. His Mercedes team mate Lewis Hamilton was second-fastest on a 1’20.948 while Alexander Albon, who looked strong during the whole session, led all four Honda-powered cars behind them.

The session started slowly, with Albon taking fastest timed lap, nearly a second ahead of Verstappen during the first half. His 1’22.280, on medium tyres, was good enough initially that only Bottas, also on mediums, was within half a second until cars started running on the soft tyre.

Max Verstappen spun into the gravel at Ascari, going in backwards and coming to a dead halt. He was able to get the car out again – something repeated almost exactly by fellow Honda driver Pierre Gasly, in the AlphaTauri, during the last minutes of the session, at the Variante della Roggia. Verstappen’s spin caused a brief red flag.

Despite the Red Bull times – or at least, Albon’s – looking initially competitive with the Mercedes, by the end of the session Bottas and Hamilton were seven-tenths up of the Honda powered cars and Verstappen was beaten by Daniil Kvyat, despite the AlphaTauri cars both setting their fastest laps on mediums.

The top ten was rounded out by Sergio Perez, both McLarens and Daniel Ricciardo. The fastest Ferrari-powered car was Charles Leclerc, in 11th and over a second off the front pace.

Roy Nissany made his second practice appearance for Williams, again borrowing George Russell’s car, and ended the session 18th. Sebastian Vettel endured a repeat of Spa’s miserable Ferrari performances, ending the session 19th ahead of Nicholas Latifi.

Multiple drivers were warned about track limits during the session, with Ascari and Parabolica both getting mentioned repeatedly to drivers under threat of having lap times deleted in later sessions.

No cars suffered major technical problems, although Kevin Magnussen’s session ended slightly early with a cooling problem in the final ten minutes. Ricciardo and Russell have both taken replacement power unit parts this weekend, with both replacing the internal combustion engine, MGU-H and turbocharger and Ricciardo also replacing the MGU-K.

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

2020 Italian Grand Prix First Practice classification

Pos.No.DriverCarBest lapGapLaps
177Valtteri BottasMercedes1’20.70328
244Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’20.9480.24527
323Alexander AlbonRed Bull-Honda1’21.5000.79730
426Daniil KvyatAlphaTauri-Honda1’21.5550.85231
533Max VerstappenRed Bull-Honda1’21.6410.93822
610Pierre GaslyAlphaTauri-Honda1’21.6670.96427
711Sergio PerezRacing Point-Mercedes1’21.7471.04425
84Lando NorrisMcLaren-Renault1’21.7471.04429
93Daniel RicciardoRenault1’21.7891.08622
1055Carlos Sainz JnrMcLaren-Renault1’21.8211.11827
1116Charles LeclercFerrari1’21.9041.20125
1231Esteban OconRenault1’21.9841.28128
1318Lance StrollRacing Point-Mercedes1’22.1311.42821
148Romain GrosjeanHaas-Ferrari1’22.4091.70620
1520Kevin MagnussenHaas-Ferrari1’22.4221.71919
1699Antonio GiovinazziAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’22.5521.84924
177Kimi RaikkonenAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’22.6191.91627
1840Roy NissanyWilliams-Mercedes1’22.8262.12325
195Sebastian VettelFerrari1’22.9882.28524
206Nicholas LatifiWilliams-Mercedes1’23.1202.41722

First practice visual gaps

Valtteri Bottas – 1’20.703

+0.245 Lewis Hamilton – 1’20.948

+0.797 Alexander Albon – 1’21.500

+0.852 Daniil Kvyat – 1’21.555

+0.938 Max Verstappen – 1’21.641

+0.964 Pierre Gasly – 1’21.667

+1.044 Sergio Perez – 1’21.747

+1.044 Lando Norris – 1’21.747

+1.086 Daniel Ricciardo – 1’21.789

+1.118 Carlos Sainz Jnr – 1’21.821

+1.201 Charles Leclerc – 1’21.904

+1.281 Esteban Ocon – 1’21.984

+1.428 Lance Stroll – 1’22.131

+1.706 Romain Grosjean – 1’22.409

+1.719 Kevin Magnussen – 1’22.422

+1.849 Antonio Giovinazzi – 1’22.552

+1.916 Kimi Raikkonen – 1’22.619

+2.123 Roy Nissany – 1’22.826

+2.285 Sebastian Vettel – 1’22.988

+2.417 Nicholas Latifi – 1’23.120

Drivers more then ten seconds off the pace omitted.

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

2020 Italian Grand Prix

Browse all 2020 Italian Grand Prix articles

Author information

Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a motorsport and automotive journalist with a particular interest in hybrid systems, electrification, batteries and new fuel technologies....

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

21 comments on “Mercedes on top as Verstappen spins in first practice”

  1. That gap is ominous if its the trend for other sessions and rest of season.

    1. I don’t mean to be mean, but I think you’re late to the party.

      1. Mercedes never showed their full pace until Qualifying session 2.

        1. The only hope is that perhaps they are testing out the modes they can use on their engine and are therefore going closer to their quicker pace in practice than they would usually do.

          I wouldn’t say it’s ominous though – they are already winning every race extremely easily unless they run into troubles with their tyres so it would be a big surprise if it didn’t remain that way.

    2. They don’t switch off party mode till qually. Ive not given up hope yet. Will probably do by tmrw teatime

      1. I don’t think any teams use their max engine mode in free practice. Why would they put extra strain on the engine for sessions that don’t count for anything? Wolff said that the damage caused to the engine with 5 laps of ‘qualy’ mode was equivalent to 25 laps of normal race running, so doing any laps using that mode in free practice would be counterproductive.

      2. tony mansell, why would there be any incentive for the teams to use their most aggressive power unit modes in practice when it would be actively hindering them in the race to do so?

      3. Why would Mercedes run “party mode” in FP1, knowing full well they can’t use it come qualifying and the race? Makes no sense.

      4. This is exactly why the gap is ominous tony mansell: everyone is in the same lazy breakfast mode, presumably

      5. You are hopeless. Lol.

  2. Oh dear! Everyone is further behind!
    What a shock!

  3. Oh Vettel..

    1. a new low for him, behind Roy Nissany… oh my

    2. It’s all part of the plan.
      Fans are allowed in again at Mugello next week, but they don’t want to attract too many…

  4. Seb being a full second by Charles is not normal or correct – Ferrari must be rocking up every weekend and just saying “you figure it out, we’re not helping anymore”… Kinda like they do during the races when it comes to pit stops and strategy.

    It’s really sad to watch Ferrari waste so much talent over the years, I honestly hope they spend the next few years being seriously humbled by the mid-field and the likes of Leclerc and Sainz start utilising break clauses (if you don’t put some break clauses in your Ferrari contract, you’ve been failed by your manager). Would be real comeuppance to see them having to take on no-name pay drivers.

    1. Or may be this year’s Ferrari is exposing all the weaknesses that Vettel had all along: both the racing skills and mental skills by being unable to cope with not given “Number 1” status in the team.

      1. And how he was dropped by the team showed him real motives so other than performing the best since he is on payroll why shouldnt he show his frustration towards the management? Atleast he is keeping his mouth shut so far.

      2. This is the correct view, Ferrari are not sabotaging VET, VET has been sabotaging himself and Ferrari for years

  5. Just think of the points and prize money that other teams lost last year due to Ferrari’s rule breaking.

Comments are closed.