Monza (Italy), Sep 9 (IANS) Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc topped the first practice session ahead of Ferrari teammate Carlos Sainz in the Italian Grand Prix as championship leader Red Bull’s Max Verstappen finished fifth here on Friday.
George Russell finished the session in third place while his Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton was fourth with a lap of 1:22.831 that left him 0.421 off Leclerc.
It was also revealed that the Red Bull driver Verstappen will take an engine-related grid penalty on Sunday in Monza.
At the start of the opening practice session, Verstappen quickly moved to the top of the order with a lap of 1: 25.830 set on hard tyres. His Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez then took the top spot with a hard-tyre time of 1:25.026s before Alpine’s Fernando Alonso stole P1 by 0.091s.
Verstappen improved over his hard tyres run, however, and after reclaiming the top spot with a lap of 1:23.449, he eventually worked his way down to 1:22.853 before drivers began to switch to soft tyres.
Leclerc, on the red-walled rubber, immediately took the top spot from Verstappen with a 1:22.410. Verstappen looked on course to beat that time, but the Dutchman encountered traffic in the final sector and he would end up fifth overall.
Verstappen finished fifth and 0.430 off the pace and it was revealed that the World Championship leader will incur a five-place grid drop for taking a new internal combustion engine.
Sixth place went to Alpine’s Esteban Ocon with teammate Alonso seventh ahead of AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda, and Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas. The tenth spot went to 2021 Monza winner Daniel Ricciardo, with teammate Lando Norris down in 16th in the second McLaren.
There were two FP1 cameos in the session with former Alfa Romeo driver Antonio Giovinazzi finishing 18th in an outing with Haas and Nyck de Vries 19th for Aston Martin.