Monza FP2: Leclerc From Hamilton Amidst the Drizzle

Making the most of a briefly dry track in the early running, Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc managed to record another session-best effort in a rain-affected FP2 at Monza on Friday.

Recording a fastest time of 1:20.978, Leclerc was just 0.068 seconds faster than the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton, while spotty rain throughout the session frustrated efforts to go faster.

Sebastian Vettel was third-fastest in the sister Ferrari, 0.201 seconds down on his teammate, while Valtteri Bottas and Max Verstappen were fourth and fifth respectively, both within four tenths of the leader.

Overall it was a difficult afternoon for the teams to navigate, with most teams racing out as soon as the lights went green, trying to set their hot-laps before the rain returned, and then continuing on to their dry-tyre, long-run programs amidst the drizzle.

As a result, the timesheets leave significant room for interpretation, especially as Hamilton’s best came almost half an hour after Leclerc’s with more rain falling.

Outside the top five, the Red Bull of Alexander Albon was another 0.239 seconds down on his teammate in sixth, albeit over half a second up on Pierre Gasly’s Toro Rosso in seventh, the usual gap between the front-runners and “Formula 1.5” returning after the irregularities of FP1.

Romain Grosjean’s Haas was eighth, his 44 laps the most of anyone in the session.

Daniel Ricciardo was P9 — the only Renault-powered car to make it into the top ten — with Daniil Kvyat just behind him.

Despite similarly precarious conditions to those that saw two drivers in the wall in FP1, there were no more major incidents in the afternoon’s running, with Lando Norris the only driver to endure problems as a hydraulic issue limited him to 16 laps.