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Italian GP 2018

AUGUST 31, 2018

Practice 2 Report - Barrel Roll

Sebastian Vettel
© RV Press

By Dan Knutson

Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel turned the fastest lap time Free Practice 2 for the Italian Grand Prix. Moments after the session began Marcus Ericsson had a massive crash as his Sauber hit the barriers and barrel rolled into the first chicane. He was not injured.

The line-up for the weekend was: Mercedes - Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas; Ferrari - Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen; Red Bull TAG Heuer - Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen; Racing Point Force India Mercedes - Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon; Williams Mercedes -Lance Stroll and Sergey Sirotkin; Renault - Nico Hulkenberg and Carlos Sainz; Toro Rosso Honda - Brendon Hartley and Pierre Gasly; Haas Ferrari - Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen; McLaren Renault - Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne; Sauber Ferrari - Ericsson and Charles Leclerc.

Perez was quickest in FP1 with a time of 1:34.000 on a damp track. The last time a Force India topped FP1 was in Russia in 2015 with Hulkenberg.

The ambient temperature at the start of the 90-minute session was 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 degrees Centigrade) and the track temperature was 79 degrees Fahrenheit (26 degrees Centigrade).

Pirelli's slick tire options for the weekend were the same as Spa the weekend before: medium, soft and super soft.

After the morning rain it was dry for FP2. But the track was still damp in places. Just three minutes into the session Ericsson had a huge accident heading into the first chicane. His Sauber flicked left into the barriers then barrel-rolled down the track.

"I'm ok. No idea what happened," he radioed as he climbed from the wreckage.

Replays showed that the rear wing DRS had remained stuck open.

The red flags stopped the session so that the debris could be cleaned up and the barriers repaired.

Ericsson was able to walk back down pit lane and wave to the cheering fans.

Those tifosi fans were, of course, on hand to support Ferrari.

"It's our home grand prix, so it's more busy," Raikkonen said. "We have a lot, a lot of support, a lot of tifosi here, so that obviously makes it a lot different. But if you purely talk pure driving, racing, it's the same job than any other place.. Obviously it's an important race for us, for the team, as any race, but it's for sure special. You feel it straight away when you come here."

One hour and eight minutes remained when FP2 resumed, and Vandoorne was the first out.

Vettel got up to speed and to the top of the timing monitors with a time of 1:21.716 on the super soft tires. Raikkonen moved into second, 0.157 seconds slower.

It was a busy time as the teams made up for the time lost during the red flag period as well as the rain in FP1.

Just past the midpoint of the session the top 10 were: Vettel, Raikkonen, Hamilton, Bottas, Verstappen, Grosjean, Ricciardo, Ocon and Sainz.

Then Raikkonen assumed the lead with a time of 1:21.375. Vettel bounced back and set a time of 1:21.105 on the super softs.

Half an hour remained when Vettel spun backwards off into the gravel traps in the final turn. He was able to get the car back to the pits.

The Ferrari crew repaired Vettel's rear wing and he got back on track.

And now most teams were doing their race simulations in this shortened session. No one was going to challenge Vettel therefore. There were a few changes further down in the order, however.

The top 10 at the end of the session that began with Ericsson's barrel roll were: Vettel, Raikkonen, Hamilton, Bottas, Verstappen, Ricciardo, Ocon, Perez, Leclerc and Hulkenberg.