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Leclerc leads Ferrari one-two in Italian Grand Prix practice

An ideal start to its home weekend for Ferrari as Charles Leclerc topped FP1 at Monza with Max Verstappen fifth.

Ferrari's Charles Leclerc was quickest in the first practice session for the Italian Grand Prix, narrowly pipping Formula 1 teammate Carlos Sainz Jr. Leclerc was down in ninth after the initial runs at Monza after the pitlane held a minute's silence in memory of Queen Elizabeth II who died on Thursday. The Monegasque went top of the time sheets shortly after the mid-session lull, equipped with the Soft tyres on his special-liveried Ferrari. His time of a 1m:22.410s was untouchable throughout the remainder of the session as the 2019 winner set the early pace. Sainz was second, just 0.077s behind his teammate, with George Russell, Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen all within half-a-second of Leclerc's benchmark.

Verstappen leads the early running

Verstappen was quickly on the pace, armed with the Hard tyres on his Red Bull machine. His first flying lap was a 1m:25.230s effort, taking over one second clear at the top of the time sheets, with Sergio Perez slotting in second place. Verstappen then got this time down to a 1m:23.449s, as the cars returned to the pits for the mid-session change after their initial runs. The Alpine duo of Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso - who have shown great straight-line speed all season - were sixth and seventh, just ahead of Yuki Tsunoda's AlphaTauri - the trio separated by just under two-tenths. Valtteri Bottas and Daniel Ricciardo rounded out the top 10 for Alfa Romeo and McLaren, respectively.

Perez well down order

Alex Albon was 11th for Williams, some 1.119s behind Leclerc ahead of Zhou Guanyu and 2020 Monza winner Pierre Gasly. Gasly took to the track for FP1 following feeling ill on Thursday, but was given a clean bill of health after being called in early following smoke from the car. Perez was a lowly 14th, 1.251s slower than Leclerc, with Lance Stroll the lead Aston Martin in 15th. Lando Norris was 16th for McLaren, ahead of the Haas pair of Kevin Magnussen and Antonio Giovinazzi - who was subbing for Mick Schumacher. Nyck de Vries - in at Aston for Sebastian Vettel was 2.321s behind the pace in an otherwise respectable session that included running wide at the Ascari chicane, with Nicholas Latifi 20th and slowest of all, 2.531s off P1.

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