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The 21-year-old Monegasque led both sessions at Monza, the soggy and crash-strewn first one hardly representative after heavy overnight downpours while showers returned in the afternoon.
Fresh from his first F1 victory last weekend at a Belgian Grand Prix overshadowed by the death of French Formula Two racer Anthoine Hubert, Leclerc lapped the ‘Pista Magica’ with a best time of one minute 20.978 seconds.
The youngster had led the first session timesheets with a time of 1:27.905 and is hitting a fine run of form after also dominating practice at Spa-Francorchamps and taking pole position.
Ferrari and Monza are both celebrating 90th anniversaries this weekend, with a big crowd already on Friday and the grandstands festooned with red and white banners.Ferrari have not won at Monza since Spaniard Fernando Alonso in 2010 but hopes of ending that drought are high at a circuit that suits their car’s characteristics, although rain is expected.
Hamilton, 65 points clear of team mate Valtteri Bottas with eight races remaining, ended the day 0.068 slower but benefitting from an aerodynamic tow to split the Ferrari drivers.
Sebastian Vettel was third fastest in 1:21.179.The morning featured three red flags and saw McLaren’s Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris second and third on the timesheets, positions the once-dominant team can only dream of in races at the moment.