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Bottas Keeps Mercedes Ahead in 2nd Free Practice for Italian Grand Prix

Valtteri Bottas kept Mercedes in front at the second free practice session for the 2017 Italian Grand Prix by finishing fastest ahead of team-mate Lewis Hamilton.

After rain threatened the first free practice session, the sun came out for the second free practice session and warmed things up a bit. The session got off to a quick start with many drivers heading out not long after the session got underway and got a few lap times together.

But it was Bottas in the Mercedes that took the honors at the end of the session with is best time of 1:21.406 on the super soft tyres. Hamilton crossed the line in 1:21.462 just 0.056s off Bottas’ time for his best effort of the day. It looked like Raikkonen was on course to set the fastest time of the session. He was marginally faster than Bottas on his run through the first sector, but lost time in the second and final sector. In the end, it was Vettel that finished 3rd fastest ahead of Raikkonen who was 4th fastest.

Grid penalties or not, that did not dampen Red Bull’s session with Max Verstappen finishing 5th fastest, 1.003s off the pace, ahead of Ricciardo in 6th.

McLaren might be down on power and the long straights at Monza really bring to light the speed difference between them and the rest of the field. But thanks to some slipstreaming McLaren were able to get both cars into the top 10 with Stoffel Vandoorne 7th and Fernando Alonso in 8th.

Esteban Ocon finished 9th with Felipe Massa in 10th.

The session was relatively quiet with a the usual locking up into Turn 1 and some off track excursions.

Lance Stroll had a little moment at Ascari and spun his Williams. Thankfully he was able to keep it on the tarmac and continued with his session.

A suspected broken rear suspension brought Haas’ Kevin Magnussen’s session to a premature. Replays showed Magnussen exiting the 2nd Lesmo with his car snapping at the rear nearly sending him into the barrier. He evenutally came to a stop at Ascari bringing out the Virtual Safety Car.

It will be a birthday to forget for Carlos Sainz. The Spaniard turned 23 today and for a birthday present was hit with a 10-place grid penalty for taking his 5th MGU-H. The engine of his Toro Rosso let go in a cloud of white smoke. Team-mate Daniil Kvyat was also told to return to the pits with a suspected engine issue towards the end of the session.

Mecedes and Ferrari seem to be on their own with their long run pace closely matched with Mercedes slightly edging Ferrari. The one lap pace of the Mercedes seems unbeatable at this point.

It’s Mercedes’ weekend to lose.


Photo credit Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team

About Ritesh K Bhana

Ritesh likes to think he is a true Tifosi, but he still remains fair to other teams. He supports two other teams which are not Red Bull and McLaren. Follow Ritesh on twitter @Humanshield_1

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