If Monza is the temple of speed then Sebastian Vettel was the high priest on Friday as he powered his Red Bull to the top of the timing screens by a huge margin on the opening day of the Italian Grand Prix weekend.
Not even his teammate Mark Webber, who ended the session second best, was 0.623 seconds down on his world champion teammate – a mighty gap considering that in the morning session the top 15 were separated by a second.
With the Red Bull duo hogging the top spots on the timing screens, best of the rest was Kimi Raikkonen in the heavily revised (longer wheelbase) Lotus with teammate Romain Grosjean fourth fastest setting an identical time to the sister car, making it a top four lock-out by Renault powered cars.
Fernando Alonso continued to show promise, a boost for Ferrari hopes on home soil, with the fifth fastest time with teammate Felipe Massa eighth fastest after being out of the top ten in the morning session.
Although Lewis Hamilton topped FP1, and was again faster than his teammate Nico Rosberg, the Briton – on a hot streak of four consecutive pole position starts – will be wondering how he will be able contain the Red Bulls as he was almost a second down on their hot lap pace. Hamilton and Rosberg with sixth and seventh respectively.
McLaren appear to have edged towards the front of the pecking order, now in sniffing distance of the top guns and possibly a step ahead of the midfield regulars. Jenson Button was ninth and teammate Sergio Perez rounding out the top ten.
The high speed nature of Monza invariably causes hot stopping moments, and in FP2 even the likes of Hamilton and Alonso had their ‘big moments’.
At the end of a busy day at one of the legendary venues of motorsport it appears that Red Bull have an edge which will prompt some serious head scratching among their rivals as they attempt to contain the gap.
Italian Grand Prix, Free Practice 2 – Friday, 6 September 2013
|1||1||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:24.453||39|
|2||2||Mark Webber||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:25.076||0.623||39|
|11||14||Paul di Resta||Force India-Mercedes||1:25.830||1.377||40|
|13||15||Adrian Sutil||Force India-Mercedes||1:26.028||1.575||37|
|21||21||Giedo van der Garde||Caterham-Renault||1:27.771||3.318||38|