Lewis Hamilton moved ahead of Valtteri Bottas in Practice Two for the Italian GP, but perennial Mercedes challenger Max Verstappen was only fifth behind McLaren’s Lando Norris and AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly.
Hamilton opened an advantage of two tenths of a second over Bottas, his Mercedes team-mate, on the qualifying simulations with a session-topping lap of 1:20.192.
Alpha Tauri’s Pierre Gasly was fourth from Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.
AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly did a fine job to finish the session as the fastest Honda runner, ending up P4 and just over a tenth quicker than Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, who got over his FP1 spin into the wall at Ascari to take fifth, while after overcoming a wide moment at the exit of Lesmo 1, Carlos Sainz was sixth in the second McLaren.
Charles Leclerc was the quickest Ferrari in ninth, but bemoaned the traffic over the radio after completing his lap.
The Monegasque, who took pole and won the race in 2019, was one of the few drivers who managed to secure a final lap in qualifying last year as drivers tripped over each other trying not to be the first in the slipstreaming queue.
Returning to Monza a year later, in a much less competitive position, Leclerc described the traffic as “a disaster”, although admitted: “It’s good training for qualifying.”
His team-mate Sebastian Vettel was 12th, and had a spin at the first Lesmo on his race-simulation run later in the session, the most series of a number of off-track or out-of-control incidents for the four-time champion through the day.
Leclerc had what was close to a similar moment at the same corner shortly afterwards, but managed to catch it without spinning, although he did run off the track.
“The car is so difficult to drive,” Leclerc said on the radio immediately afterwards.
Hamilton heads into the weekend 48 points clear of Verstappen in the championship and just two wins away from equalling Michael Schumacher’s all-time record of victories.
Verstappen crashed in first practice in the morning and was just over a second slower than Hamilton in the afternoon, while Gasly was 0.107secs ahead of him with his time.
Ricciardo’s pace, despite the deletion of his lap time, underlines the expectation that Renault are in the running for a position close to the front of the grid, after the Australian qualified and finished fourth last weekend at Spa-Francorchamps.
Behind Verstappen, McLaren’s Carlos Sainz set fifth quickest time, shortly before an off-track moment at the first Lesmo corner, ahead of the second Alpha Tauri of Daniil Kvyat and Racing Point’s Lance Stroll.
McLaren’s Lando Norris, sporting a helmet with two separate types of pizza on it as his own left-field tribute to Italy, had a troubled session, hampered by engine problems, apparently with the hybrid energy recovery system.