Hamilton quickest again in second Italian GP practice

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Lewis Hamilton’s impressive start to the Italian Grand Prix weekend continued in the second free practice session on Friday afternoon as he topped the timesheets for Mercedes.

Hamilton’s fastest time of 1:24.279 was enough to give him P1 by just 0.021 seconds as he edged out teammate Nico Rosberg in a tight second session.

The advantage supplied by Mercedes’ engine upgrade was once again evident for all to see as the Silver Arrows finished over seven-tenths of a second clear of the field in FP2.

Both drivers had a trouble-free session with their new power units, suggesting that tomorrow’s fight for pole position will once again be between Hamilton and Rosberg.

Sebastian Vettel finished as the best of the rest once again for Ferrari, ending the session in third with a best lap of 1:25.038. He was followed by the Force India duo of Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg on the timesheets, whilst Kimi Raikkonen trailed behind in sixth place.

Despite taking no part in FP1 to allow reserve driver Jolyon Palmer to get some lap time, Romain Grosjean quickly acclimatized himself to Monza in the Lotus car as he finished seventh overall. Teammate Pastor Maldonado ended the session in P8, less than two-hundredths of a second further back.

Capping off Mercedes’ domination of FP2 was the Williams duo of Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa, who finished ninth and tenth respectively. This meant that all eight of the Mercedes-powered cars on the grid finished inside the top ten in FP2, with the other two positions being taken by the Ferraris of Vettel and Raikkonen.

It proved to be another difficult session for Toro Rosso as both Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz Jr. struggled for pace, leaving them P14 and P15 overall. Verstappen took a trip through the gravel just as Sainz did in FP1, but managed to keep his car going and remain in the session.

The same could not be said of Red Bull, though, who had issues on its cars. A hydraulic failure on Daniel Ricciardo’s car and a gearbox issue for Daniil Kvyat limited the team’s running in FP2, leaving them towards the back of the field.

McLaren also had another session to forget as Jenson Button was forced to pit due to an “abnormality” that was spotted by the team. After changing the power units in FP1, more penalties could yet follow for McLaren ahead of the race on Sunday.

Qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and Live Extra from 8am ET on Saturday, and will be followed by the premiere of NBC Sports’ original digital series “Off The Grid” from the British Grand Prix.