Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton during practice in Monza
Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton during practice in Monza Image Credit: Reuters

Monza: Mercedes again topped the leaderboard as Lewis Hamilton posted the fastest time ahead of teammate Valtteri Bottas in second practice on Friday for the Italian Grand Prix.

The championship leader finished 0.262s ahead of Bottas, who was quickest in first practice. McLaren driver Lando Norris was third, 0.897s slower than Hamilton.

Ferrari improved slightly in the second session at their home track. Sebastian Vettel went from 19th in P1 to 12th and Charles Leclerc moved from 11th to ninth.

Both Ferrari drivers ran off track and Leclerc was heard saying over team radio: “The car is so hard to drive.”

Hamilton has won five of the seven races and is 47 points ahead of Red Bull rival Max Verstappen and 50 ahead of Bottas.

Verstappen was fifth in the second session, 1.036 slower than Hamilton. He finished in the same position in first practice after spinning at the Ascari chicane, sidelining him for 25 minutes as his car was repaired.

“Not a good day struggling with grip and balance in general,” Verstappen said. “So quite a bit of work to do.”