Sainz tops Italian GP second practice as Perez crashes out

Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll both saw their free practice sessions end early at the 2023 Italian GP.

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Carlos Sainz edged first place from Lando Norris in an action-packed FP2 for the 2023 Italian Grand Prix, while Sergio Perez crashed at Parabolica and Lance Stroll lost power early on in the session.

Sainz was less than two-hundredths ahead of Norris, showing Ferrari could be a genuine contender for pole position at Monza, while Perez was third and two-tenths behind the Spaniard.

Red Bull have prioritised long-run pace over qualifying in recent races and should still be heavy favourites for the grand prix, but had a far from perfect practice session.

Perez lost control at the last corner with ten minutes to go, skated over the gravel and hit the wall rear-first.

The Red Bull‘s rear wing will have sustained heavy damage and the floor likely isn’t in a good way either, though quick work from the marshalls enabled drivers to have four minutes on track to finish the session which provided an entertaining sprint race of sorts.

Max Verstappen was also frustrated at a tenth behind his teammate – he encountered traffic on his qualifying simulation and asked to have another go but was snubbed by race engineer Gianpiero Lambiase who replied ‘It’s not qualifying, Max‘.

Stroll‘s Aston Martin suffered a fuel system failure almost immediately, while Fernando Alonso could only manage ninth.

Stroll was replaced by Felipe Drugovich in FP1 too, so will hope he can get a full FP3 to prepare for qualifying, currently he’s had less than three minutes on track at Monza this weekend.

McLaren provide Monza statement

The surprise package of the session were McLaren, Norris was oh-so-close to P1 and Oscar Piastri was fourth at just five-thousandths of a second behind Perez.

McLaren were expected to struggle more at the low-downforce circuit but showed they’re still podium contenders at Monza, while Charles Leclerc rounded out the top tier of drivers in sixth and 0.361 seconds.

Alex Albon led the next pack of drivers over six-tenths behind Sainz, ahead of Alonso and George Russell.

Lewis Hamilton ran a different aero setup from FP1 but radioed difficulties with it halfway through, Mercedes kept the new rear wing and adjusted the front of the car to minimal effect, Hamilton finished 17th,

Nico Hulkenberg managed a top 10 and with Haas‘ Saturday form, don’t be surprised to see them land a spot in Q3.

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