Verstappen accident and advantage for Bottas at Monza

The Dutchman forced a red flag and had to change the front wing. Two tenths for the Finn over Hamilton and 10th for Sainz.

The highlight of the first free practice at Monza was Verstappen's accident in the middle of the session, which forced a quickly resolved red flag. The Dutchman lost control of his Red Bull in the Ascari Variation, went to the gravel and broke his front wing, but saved the ballot by limiting the damage and was able to return to the garage without getting off the car. They quickly changed the nose and later returned to the track. Although, for once, his partner finished ahead of him on the timesheets: Albon was third and Verstappen fifth, separated by Kvyat. There were, in general, more errors and inaccuracies on the part of the pilots than normal.

At the front of the classification, what a surprise, the two Mercedes. Bottas led Hamilton by two tenths and delivered the classic eight to the rest of the grid, although the times must be greatly reduced in the second session this afternoon. For now, Alpha Tauri is among the best and remains less than a second behind the German cars, but it is a mirage: on Friday they always run unloaded and with the engine 'on' to do field work with Honda. This weekend the power units are under the magnifying glass because the 'party mode' has gone down in history and the advantage of Hamilton should be lower in the classification, although it will not disappear.

Start without fuss in the tightest area of the grid that includes Racing point, McLaren, Renault and Ferrari. Barely a couple of tenths separated these cars, but the equality can be summed up in one fact: Pérez and Norris, seventh and eighth respectively, set exactly the same record on the stopwatch. Carlos Sainz signed the tenth time but did not leave the MCL35 excessively satisfied, there were more tenths on his lap. That Leclerc was eleventh seems good news given the Spa disaster, but Vettel's penultimate, only ahead of Latifi, does not bode well for the Tifosi.

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