Verstappen kicks off record bid for 10th straight win as Perez crashes during second practice at Monza

The Mexican emerged unhurt from his Red Bull despite the high speed at which he lost control

By Reuters

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Red Bull Racing's Mexican driver Sergio Perez drives during first practice session, ahead of the Italian Formula One Grand Prix aon Friday. - AFP
Red Bull Racing's Mexican driver Sergio Perez drives during first practice session, ahead of the Italian Formula One Grand Prix aon Friday. - AFP

Published: Fri 1 Sep 2023, 10:13 PM

Formula One world championship leader Max Verstappen lapped fastest on Friday in first free practice for an that could secure the Red Bull driver a record 10th win in a row.

The Dutch 25-year-old set a best time of one minute 22.657 seconds on a warm but cloudy afternoon at Monza with Ferrari's Carlos Sainz keeping the home crowd happy with a lap only 0.046 seconds slower.


Red Bull's Sergio Perez, second in the championship but now 138 points adrift after 13 of 22 races, was third fastest and 0.177 slower than his team mate with Ferrari's Charles Leclerc fourth.

Perez chad rashed his Red Bull at the famous Parabolica corner iduring free practice.


Perez's emerged unhurt considering the high speed at which he lost control.

Perez was actually faster than Verstappen on the race-simulation runs in the last part of the session by about 0.1secs on average over the few laps they managed before the crash.

Perez admitted it was overall a good day and said: "I understeered off on the exit and tried to keep it nailed. I thought I had it under control, but then I touched a little bit the gravel and that was game over.

"It doesn't look too bad, the damage. The hit was fairly small. I don't think we lost anything at the end.

Verstappen won at Monza last year, with Leclerc starting on pole, and is in dominant form this season with 11 wins so far.

He equalled the nine in a row set in 2013 by now-retired Sebastian Vettel on his way to a fourth successive title with Red Bull.

Mercedes George Russell was fifth fastest with Fernando Alonso sixth for Aston Martin and Lando Norris seventh for McLaren.

Seven times world champion Lewis Hamilton, with a new contract keeping him at Mercedes until the end of 2025, was eighth on the timesheets with AlphaTauri's Yuki Tsunoda and Williams' Alex Albon completing the top 10.

Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes used only the hard tyres during the session.

Both of the Ferrari drivers and Russell started the hour-long session with new power units, within their allocation of four for the season.

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New Zealander Liam Lawson started his second grand prix weekend as replacement for the injured Daniel Ricciardo at Italy-based AlphaTauri and was 13th fastest.

Brazilian reserve and F2 champion Felipe Drugovich replaced Lance Stroll at Aston Martin for the session as part of a requirement to give young drivers track time, and was 18th fastest.


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