Formula 1: Sainz quickest for Ferrari in second practice as more drivers incur penalties

Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz topped the second practice session of Italian Grand Prix, beating Red Bull’s Max Verstappen by a little over a tenth of a second as more drivers joined to incur grid penalties for Sunday’s race.

It had already been confirmed that Verstappen, Sainz and Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton would take grid penalties for PU element changes but race officials later revealed that Sergio Perez in the other Red Bull, Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas and AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda will also make component changes and incur penalties.

At the start of the late afternoon session Sainz bolted to the top of the order with a medium-tyre lap of 1:23.156. Verstappen then took over in P1 with a lap of 1:23.021, also on the mediums. Perez then moved to third place ahead of Hamilton, George Russell and Alpine Fernando Alonso. Charles Leclerc was on track for his first run, however, and he moved to first place with a lap of 1:22.307.

The Monegasque driver’s tenure at the top was brief, however, and Verstappen soon moved ahead again, this time with a lap of 1:22.303, just 0.004s quicker than the Ferrari man.

With a little over a quarter of an hour on the clock, Valtteri Bottas emerged on soft tyres and the Alfa Romeo driver went fourth with a lap of 1:22.993. moving ahead of Perez. That sparked the switch to qualifying runs and McLaren’s Lando Norris moved to P3 with a lap of 1:22.338, while Alonso jumped to fourth. Verstappen then improved in first place, lowering the benchmark to 1:21.807.

Any further improvements were briefly halted, however, as Mick Schumacher’s Haas ground to a halt at the side of the track, with the German driver reporting that it felt as though his “engine had seized”.

The session resumed with 25 minutes left on the clock and Sainz was soon on track on soft tyres. The Spaniard duly jumped to P1 with a lap of 1:21.664 that put him 0.143s ahead of Verstappen and almost two tenths ahead of Leclerc.

That was the end of the qualifying simulations and the front runners moved to longer runs for the remainder of the session.

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