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Italian GP: Sebastian Vettel leads as Ericsson crashes in Practice 2

Written by  Aug 31, 2018

Sebastian Vettel ensured the Tifosi went home happy on Friday by leading a Ferrari 1-2 in second practice at the Italian Grand Prix.

As the morning rain cleared, the Monza track has dried out sufficiently to allow the drivers out on the slick tyres for the first time this weekend.

There would be early drama, however, as, on his first flying lap, Marcus Ericsson lost the rear of his Sauber under braking for the first chicane with the DRS remaining open as well as a possible damp patch on the outside of the circuit.

The Swede would slam into the wall in the left before rolling over several times and coming to a rest luckily with all four wheels still attached and with him climbing out unharmed.

Unsurprisingly, it caused a lengthy red flag with the barriers also requiring repairs and also at Sauber, the DRS problem would also be traced on Charles Leclerc's car, leaving the Monegasque stuck in the garage.

With just over an hour to go, the session would resume finally allowing all the drivers out to complete some meaningful running.

Vettel would head straight out on the Supersoft tyres and would go fastest as the others completed runs on the Soft or Medium compound.

The qualifying simulations would follow but again Mercedes had no answer to the pace of the Prancing Horse's as Vettel lowered the benchmark to a 1m21.105s on the fourth flying lap.

His fifth though would see him lose the rear through Parabolica and gently hit the barrier after sliding through the gravel. The damage was limited to just the rear wing end-fence and he would be back out for the long runs.

Kimi Raikkonen briefly moved to the top before being overhauled by his teammate but would still finish ahead of the two Mercedes' in second.

For Lewis Hamilton, the second chicane was the main issue as he was repeatedly seen putting two wheels just over the kerb into the gravel, compromising his traction out of the corner.

He was still four-tenths clear of Valtteri Bottas in third though, albeit almost three-tenths off the best set by Vettel.

Red Bull's rear wings are even skinnier than in Spa last weekend but despite their solid straight-line speed, Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo both remain over a second off the pace in fifth and sixth respectively.

The low-downforce strength of the Force India also continues to shine as Esteban Ocon led Sergio Perez in the 'best of the rest' positions of seventh and eighth.

Once the DRS problems were resolved, Leclerc went out and finished ninth for Sauber with Nico Hulkenberg completing the top 10 for Renault.

Much like last weekend in Spa, Haas appears to be hiding their pace for when it matters with Romain Grosjean 11th and Kevin Magnussen 13th.

The gaps are very tight, however, with just over six-tenths covering Ocon in seventh to Lance Stroll in 17th, with Williams partner Sirotkin and the Toro Rosso's ahead.

Bringing up the grid was the two McLaren's as Fernando Alonso led Stoffel Vandoorne by three-tenths of a second on another difficult day for the British team.

A full look at the Practice 2 results can be seen below:

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