Italian Grand Prix – Sergio Perez was the man to profit from a drying track by topping the opening free practice session ahead of Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen and team-mate Esteban Ocon.
Just one week after their wet weather exploits at Spa, Racing Point Force India once again took advantage of adverse weather and topped the opening free practice session.
With the track gradually drying over the course of the session, Perez’s final flying lap of 1:34.000 secured top spot, half-a-second clear of Raikkonen and team-mate Esteban Ocon.
The second Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel spent much of the session in the garage. He only completed four laps before requiring a gearbox change.
With the rest of the weekend expected to be dry, teams were not expected to complete that much running, but the drying track encouraged drivers to complete long stints on the intermediate tyres, with Raikkonen completing a hefty 28 laps.
The Red Bulls and the Toro Rossos also benefited from the drying track, with all four drivers from the Red Bull ‘stable’ filling positions four to seven.
Toro Rosso’s Brendon Hartley was fourth-quickest, ahead of Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo, followed by their respective team-mates Pierre Gasly and Max Verstappen, who had a half-spin in the opening half-hour of the session.
Ricciardo came into this weekend equipped with the latest specification of the Renault power unit, but in the knowledge that he will start from the back of the grid.
Renault had expressed concerns about the reliability of the upgrades, and the Red Bull encountered power unit issues in the opening minutes of the session. However, this appeared to be software related and didn’t take long to rectify.
The two Renault’s of Carlos Sainz and Nico Hulkenberg, along with the Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas, completed the top ten.
To view the full results from the session, click here.