Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel set the pace in second practice at the Italian Grand Prix despite a high-speed spin.
The German, 17 points behind Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton in the championship, lost control at the famous Parabolica corner at the end of an impressive run.
Hamilton was third fastest, behind Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen and 0.287 seconds slower than Vettel.
There was a huge accident for Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson, who somersaulted several times at the first chicane.
His DRS overtaking aid did not shut as intended when the Swede hit the brakes. Ericsson was uninjured but the DRS continued to be an intermittent problem for his team-mate Charles Leclerc for the first part of the session.
Vettel was trying to get one more timed lap when he spun off, lightly tapping the wall.
Hamilton also made errors on his fastest laps, running slightly wide at the second chicane a couple of times, so the absolute pace of the Mercedes was not revealed.
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Form at the top
Vettel’s advantage over Hamilton suggested that Mercedes are again on the back foot.
And the race simulation runs in the second part of the session strengthened that impression, with Vettel on average just under 0.2secs quicker than Hamilton on high fuel on the super-soft tyres on which most teams will start the race.
If that form continues, Mercedes will be concerned, because they already expect to struggle at the next race in Singapore in two weeks’ time.
On Friday, Hamilton was fighting a lone fight against the Ferraris – his team-mate Valtteri Bottas was nearly 0.7secs off the pace and just over 0.4secs off the Briton.
The Red Bulls are next best, but Max Verstappen in fifth was a second off the pace.