Published on 04 September 2020 by Stefan Meens

Max Verstappen clocked the fifth fastest lap in the opening practice session of the Italian Grand Prix, despite a crash at the halfway mark. Quickest around Monza was Mercedes, with Valtteri Bottas ahead of Lewis Hamilton.

FP1 is off to a slow start. It is not until twenty minutes into the session that the first Formula 1 car steers onto the iconic highspeed Monza circuit; it’s Kimi Raikkonen in the Alfa Romeo.

Soon after, the rest of the teams follow suit and Max clocks his first flying lap. On the hard Pirelli tyre, Max opens his account with a 1:22.3, followed by a 1:21.9, propelling him to P2.

At the halfway mark, Max loses the rear of his car in the middle of Ascari. Despite a frontal hit with the tyre barriers bringing the RB16 to a stop, Max can nurse the car back to the pits. 22 minutes later, Max is back on track after a stellar repair job from his Aston Martin Red Bull Racing crew.

In the final half an hour, the times drop due to drivers opting to run the soft Pirelli compound. The Mercedes duo of Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton set the pace. Max clocks a 1:21.6, in the end the fifth quickest lap of the session.

In the closing stages, several drivers struggle to stay on track with Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel going wide at the first Lesmo, Bottas missing the second chicane and Alpha Tauri’s Pierre Gasly cruising through the gravel traps. All three escape any serious damage apart from bruised egos, to bring to a close the first free practice session.

Italian GP contest: win the grey Max Verstappen cap!

Results first free practice Italy:

pos driver team time gap laps
1 Valtteri Bottas BOT Mercedes 1:20.703 28
2 Lewis Hamilton HAM Mercedes 1:20.948 +0.245s 27
3 Alexander Albon ALB Red Bull Racing Honda 1:21.500 +0.797s 30
4 Daniil Kvyat KVY AlphaTauri Honda 1:21.555 +0.852s 31
5 Max Verstappen VER Red Bull Racing Honda 1:21.641 +0.938s 22
6 Pierre Gasly GAS AlphaTauri Honda 1:21.667 +0.964s 27
7 Sergio Perez PER Racing Point BWT Mercedes 1:21.747 +1.044s 25
8 Lando Norris NOR McLaren Renault 1:21.747 +1.044s 29
9 Daniel Ricciardo RIC Renault 1:21.789 +1.086s 22
10 Carlos Sainz SAI McLaren Renault 1:21.821 +1.118s 27
11 Charles Leclerc LEC Ferrari 1:21.904 +1.201s 25
12 Esteban Ocon OCO Renault 1:21.984 +1.281s 28
13 Lance Stroll STR Racing Point BWT Mercedes 1:22.131 +1.428s 21
14 Romain Grosjean GRO Haas Ferrari 1:22.409 +1.706s 20
15 Kevin Magnussen MAG Haas Ferrari 1:22.422 +1.719s 19
16 Antonio Giovinazzi GIO Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari 1:22.552 +1.849s 24
17 Kimi Räikkönen RAI Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari 1:22.619 +1.916s 27
18 Roy Nissany NIS Williams Mercedes 1:22.826 +2.123s 25
19 Sebastian Vettel VET Ferrari 1:22.988 +2.285s 24
20 Nicholas Latifi LAT Williams Mercedes 1:23.120 +2.417s 22