Italian GP: Hamilton almost 0.5s clear of Verstappen in Practice 1

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Lewis Hamilton enjoyed a near-half a second advantage over Max Verstappen in Friday's only practice session at the Italian Grand Prix.

With only one hour of running before qualifying under this weekend's Sprint Qualifying format, teams wasted little time in heading out on track at Monza.

And the straight-line speed prowess that Mercedes is famous for was well on show as Hamilton, with the help of a slipstream in Sector 3, posted a 1m20.926s on the medium tyre.

That gave the seven-time world champion a significant lead over Verstappen on the soft compound in second for Red Bull.

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Valtteri Bottas underlined Mercedes' speed in third, within a tenth of the Dutchman on the same tyre as Hamilton.

With the same power unit as the W12, Aston Martin also ran well up the order as Lance Stroll sat fourth and Sebastian Vettel sixth.

2020 winner at Monza, Pierre Gasly backed up Honda's performance credentials though in fifth for AlphaTauri.

The late flurry of flying laps offered a glimpse of what awaits in qualifying as drivers scrambled to find a slipstream and often had their laps ruined as a result.

Carlos Sainz was able to make a gain for Ferrari in seventh, ahead of Fernando Alonso in eighth on his return to the 'Temple of Speed'.

McLaren ran strongly for much of the session but slipped back with Daniel Ricciardo ninth and Lando Norris 12th.

The Australian was one of several drivers who had fast laps deleted for track limits at Parabolica, as did Charles Leclerc in 11th.

Sergio Perez set the initial pace for Red Bull but failed to improve when he switched to soft tyres, falling to P10 as a result.

After a frantic practice, an even more chaotic qualifying session is in store at 6pm local time in Monza (GMT+2), but the question is can Red Bull stop the early Mercedes express?

Full results from practice can be seen below: