To the delight of the Formula 1 Tifosi at the Autodromo Nationale di Monza, Charles Leclerc set the best time in the first free practice session for the Italian Grand Prix.
The 24-year-old Monegasse relegated his Spanish Ferrari team-mate Carlos Sainz to second place by almost 77 thousandths of a second. Third on Friday after the one-hour session was George Russell ahead of his Mercedes colleague Lewis Hamilton. This was followed by world champion Max Verstappen in the Red Bull.
World championship leader Verstappen, who is 109 points ahead of Leclerc and his Mexican team-mate Sergio Perez, has never won in Monza before. In the Red Bull racing car of the Formula 1 titleholder, part of the so-called power unit had to be replaced. Because the fifth new element will be used this season with three allowed, he has to drop five places, as the race director specified.
Verstappen's team-mate Sergio Perez will have to drop 10 grid positions, Carlos Sainz in the Ferrari by 15 places in the Scuderia's home race, as will Valtteri Bottas in the Alfa Romeo.
Five-time Monza winner and seven-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton will start from the back. Since several parts were changed in his Mercedes, he will start from the end of the field on September 11 (3 p.m. / Sky). This also applies to the Japanese Alpha Tauri pilot Yuki Tsunoda.