F1 Italian Grand Prix Preview

Henrietta Brewer
September 3, 2017

His left tyres covered in dirt, Lewis Hamilton couldn't catch Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas in the second practice session on Friday (Saturday NZ Time) for the Italian Grand Prix.

Meanwhile, Hamilton spent the delay engaging with his supporters on social media before sitting down with Valtteri Bottas and playing computer games from the comfort of the Mercedes team's hospitality suite. It's a fact reinforced by the performance of Hamilton and Bottas during the practice races, per BBC Sport's Andrew Benson: "Hamilton was 0.435 seconds quicker than the Finn-and more than a second in front of title rival Sebastian Vettel, who is seven points ahead after 12 of 20 races".

When asked about the significance of the record, Hamilton reflected on the times he watched Schumacher racing when growing up and how he dreamed of emulating the seven-time world champion one day.

The top spot switched hands between Hamilton and Vettel after both beat Verstappen's time. "It's an intense last third of the year and we'll get that over the line and then we'll pick up a discussion". The auto seems nicely balanced here.

Hot on the heels of his strong performance in Belgium last weekend when he hounded victor Lewis Hamilton all the way to the chequered flag, on a circuit on which the Englishman's Mercedes was expected to excel, Vettel said he had been very happy with that result.

"First of all it was nice that it stayed [generally] dry today because all the forecasts said that the rain could affect the running and we could have limited running before qualifying and the race in the dry. I was surprised by how quick the others went, we couldn't match them", he told reporters.

"It would be a great, great moment and I want to witness it". We can improve the auto if we sort a couple things out. Despite that we need to be humble because we know... that Monza is not really the best track for us. We are not yet where I think we can be, but I think we should be a bit better tomorrow.

"The auto is quick, we know that". The 30 year-old German has three wins under his belt at Monza in 2008 for Toro Rosso and in 2011 and 2013 respectively, for their sister team Red Bull.

The quebec driver Lance Stroll has lost control of his Williams in the chicane Ascari, forcing the temporary exit of the yellow flags.

After an overcast morning punctuated by light showers, the second session began in warm sunshine, Raikkonen leading the way as he and compatriot Bottas traded early fastest laps.

"The answer is, we would like to keep our options open because every race you can not plan for all scenarios".

The Red Bulls qualified second and third but are facing penalties for unscheduled technical changes. However, he can take confidence from winning the 2017 Belgian Grand Prix last time out.

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