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Verstappen tops first practice for Italian GP at Monza

Published September 01,2023

Champion Max Verstappen topped the first practice for the Formula One Italian Grand Prix on Friday as he chases a record 10th consecutive win.

Verstappen clocked 1 minute 22.657 seconds around the iconic Autodromo Nazionale Monza, beating Carlos Sainz of Ferrari by 0.046 second and team-mate Sergio Perez by 0.177 second.

Charles Leclerc in the other Ferrari was fourth. George Russell and Lewis Hamilton, who on Thursday extended their contract with Mercedes until 2025, were fifth and eight.

Brazilian driver Felipe Drugovich replaced Lance Stroll in the Aston Martin for the session as part of his driver development programme. He finished 18th at the circuit he secured his Formula 2 title just 12 months ago.

Liam Lawson, meanwhile, continued as stand-in for the injured Daniel Ricciardo at Alpha Tauri and finished 13th.

Verstappen can take his 10th consecutive F1 win on Sunday, which would set a new record. Last weekend at his home Dutch GP, he matched Sebastian Vettel's milestone of nine straight victories.

The Dutchman tops the drivers' championship 138 points ahead of Perez. Red Bull has dominated the season, with Verstappen winning 11 of 13 races and Perez taking the other two.

Second practice session is later on Friday, with qualifying ahead of the race on Saturday.