Sainz fastest ahead of Verstappen in Italian GP Friday practice

Carlos Sainz goes fastest for home favourites Ferrari in Italian Grand Prix Friday practice ahead of Max Verstappen… but both will take a grid penalty for car component changes having just edged out Charles Leclerc

  • Carlos Sainz was fastest for Ferrari in Friday practice for the Italian Grand Prix
  • Spaniard edged out championship leader Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc 
  • Both will take a grid penalty ahead of the race at Monza on Sunday
  • Lewis Hamilton was only seventh for Mercedes and also has a grid penalty
  • Teams stood in minute silence to honour the passing of Queen Elizabeth II  

Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz finished ahead of Max Verstappen in practice for the Italian Grand Prix – after Formula One observed a one-minute silence in memory of Her Majesty The Queen.

Ten minutes before the opening action of the weekend in Monza, the grid’s 10 teams – six of which are based in the United Kingdom – gathered in memory of the long-serving monarch who died on Thursday.

Seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton was flanked by British team-mate George Russell and F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali in the pit lane, all wearing black armbands.

Carlos Sainz went fastest for Ferrari during Friday practice for the Italian Grand Prix

The Spaniard (above) just edged out championship leader Max Verstappen at Monza

FIA president Mohammed ben Suleyman paid his respects alongside Domenicali in front of the silent main grandstand awash with Ferrari red at the Italian team’s home race.

Above them on the podium, a giant black and white image of the Queen was projected. The top three will grace the rostrum on Sunday afternoon, but whether the champagne will be sprayed is still under discussion.

A spontaneous round of applause broke out following the one-minute silence, and another moment of reflection is planned on the grid ahead of Sunday’s Grand Prix.

Lewis Hamilton (right) and George Russell lead the silence for the passing of Queen Elizabeth 

Before stepping into his Mercedes cockpit, Hamilton, 37, who was knighted last year, described the Queen as a “symbol of hope for so many”, and said “she served her country with dignity, dedication and kindness”.

While the Premier League cancelled its fixtures this weekend, F1 bosses are pressing on with the 16th round of the season in Monza, 13 miles north of Milan.

Mercedes have a black band on the roll hoop of both Hamilton’s and Russell’s cars, while staff from up and down the paddock are all wearing black armbands.

Red Bull, the Milton Keynes team carrying Max Verstappen to his second world championship in as many seasons, are running the royal insignia on their front wing, while music in their garage has been silenced.

Verstappen (above) and Sainz will both take grid penalties ahead of Sunday’s race 

British team McLaren have a black ribbon on their machines, and have faded out its orange speedmark. All the teams have dramatically scaled back on their social media output.

On track, the Tifosi had reason to celebrate after Charles Leclerc set the fastest time in the opening running, with Sainz setting the pace later in the day.

Verstappen, who is 109 points clear of Leclerc in the standings, finished 0.143 seconds behind Sainz. Leclerc was third in the second session, with McLaren’s Lando Norris fourth. Russell and Hamilton finished fifth and seventh respectively.

Hamilton, Sainz and Verstappen are all facing grid penalties on Sunday for exceeding their allocation of engine parts.

Charles Leclerc was fastest on the grid in the first practice for this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix

Verstappen is set to drop five places for changing his Internal Combustion Engine (ICE), while Sainz and Hamilton will line up towards the back.

Hamilton is punished for taking on his fourth power unit of the campaign – one more than is allocated under the sport’s rules – and he will be joined by Sainz who is also punished for replacing a plethora of parts in the rear of his Ferrari.

Verstappen’s Red Bull team-mate Perez will also serve an engine penalty which could pave the way for Leclerc to triumph on Ferrari home soil.

However, it would be unwise to discount Verstappen, who has won the past four races on his unstoppable gallop to the title.




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