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F1 | Italian GP | FP2 report: Mercedes lead the way ahead of the Sprint Qualifying

It wasn’t Ferrari’s day, as Sainz badly crashed at Ascari, bringing out the red flag, and Leclerc had to cut his session short, whereas Mercedes and Red Bull fought for the lead, with the German team’s car more suited to the track.

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F1 | Italian GP | FP2 report: Mercedes lead the way ahead of the Sprint Qualifying
Fuente imagen: Hasan Bratic Motorlat

The Mercedes cars topped today's practice session too with ease, shortly followed by both Red Bull drivers. The top ten is completed by both Alpine and Alfa Romeo drivers, which pulled impressive laps after the red flag, Gasly and Norris.

After the engine issues he suffered from in yesterday's qualifying, Ferrari decided to switch Leclerc's power unit to an older one and potentially slowing him down in a track where the engine performance is very important.  

It seems like track limits could be an issue here too, with many drivers seeing their lap times cancelled for such reason.

The majority of the teams focused on preparation of the sprint qualifying, testing their race pace on longer run rather than doing shorter, faster stints. The AlphaTauris impressed with the consistency of their lap times, always in the order of 1'25s.

Both Williams and Haas drivers exited the pit lane at the beginning of the session, with Schumacher signing the first official lap time in 1'27'463.

Fifteen minutes in the session, it's Red Bull's  on top of the leaderboard with a 1'24'006, on soft tyres and low engine mode, later improved to a 1'23'754 . His teammate Sergio Perez is in P2, with a 0.436 delay, and just behind him for an all-Honda provisional podium is Pierre Gasly in his AlphaTauri.

The Mercedes drivers focused on Sunday preparations: Bottas on hards went wide on the Roggia chicane while Hamilton on the softs slotted in P5 with a more fuelled car.

Red flag was brought out when Carlos Sainz crashed at Ascari seriously damaging his Ferrari, stopping the clock with 25 minutes to go. The session restarted after the removal of the car remains.

After a first medical check Sainz was declared ok, but subjected to a longer period of observation in order to confirm him fit for this afternoon's qualifying, if the car can be saved.

After the restart Giovinazzi and Ocon improved their lap times, setting in P4 and P3 respectively and joined by Robert Kubica, who replaces Alfa Romeo's Kimi Raikkonen, still sick with Covid. However, thirteen minutes left in the session the Mercedes went on top of the timetable, Hamilton in 1'23'246 on hards and Bottas with a 0.333 gap to him on softs.

The home race gets even more worrisome for Ferrari: with six minutes to go, it's Leclerc's turn to stop, who boxes without explicitly saying the reason on the radio and doesn't return on track for the start simulations.

In the end of the session Verstappen tried to reduce even more the gap to the Mercedes, but had to be satisfied with his P3, and Hamilton locked up at the Roggia chicane without serious consequences.

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