Max Verstappen led the pack in the first 20 minutes of the hour-long FP1 session, putting out a 1m22.657s. This was a marked improvement on his previous run of 1m23.027s, using the hard compound of tyres.
His fellow Red Bull colleague, Sergio Perez, was momentarily in a position of second place, within three tenths of Verstappen’s time. However, Carlos Sainz managed to overtake him with a 1m22.703s slightly after the first 30-minute block was over.
The Monza weekend’s distinct tyre allocation followed on from the initial trial in Hungary. This modification meant drivers were limited in the quantity of tyres they could use in the session. The customary 13 sets per car were reduced to only 11. As a result, teams adopted various strategies, some choosing to conserve tyres in the session’s early part to potentially have an extra set in qualifying.
Verstappen and Perez opted to stick with a hard tyre set for the session’s beginning. During this time, they traded top spots with the Ferraris, Mercedes and Oscar Piastri, who were on soft tyres. Sainz managed the first run into the 1m23s using his hard tyres, but Verstappen then gained an additional half-second on him. After 15 minutes, Piastri secured a 1m23.446s, only to be surpassed by Sainz in front of his home crowd.
Later, Verstappen posted a 1m23.027s, with his next flying lap almost 0.4s faster, extending his lead over Perez. This time, Charles Leclerc managed to insert himself between the two teammates, becoming the next driver to dip below the 1m23s mark. Perez bounced back and reclaimed his second place in the session but was eventually surpassed by Sainz’s timing.
Charles Leclerc required some car adjustments in the garage but maintained a 0.309s behind Verstappen’s pace. Both of the Ferraris – newly painted with a touch of yellow in tribute to the Scuderia’s Le Mans 24 Hours victory this year – ended up among the top four positions.
George Russell came in fifth fastest with his time set on the hardest C3 compound. This time was better than the medium-shod Fernando Alonso. With Soft tyres, Lando Norris and Lewis Hamilton clocked the seventh-best and eighth-best times, respectively.
Duo Williams, Albon, and Logan Sargeant, opted to steer clear of the session’s initial 20 minutes but ultimately emerged via the soft compound. Piastri split the two on the timing boards as he shifted his focus on longer runs after a brief stint at the top of timings.
Daniel Ricciardo‘s stand-in at Alpha Tauri, Liam Lawson, clocked the 13th fastest time, followed closely by Pierre Gasly. Gasly managed to get in 24 laps using just one set of soft tyres for the session.
Valtteri Bottas claimed the 15th place after encountering early problems at Alfa Romeo. Both Alfa Romeo cars met with clutch software issues causing recurring anti-stall modes as both Bottas and Zhou Guanyu attempted to exit the pits. After fixing these issues, drivers reported a pronounced improvement.
Next on the charts were Nico Hulkenberg and Esteban Ocon on 16th and 17th positions. Aston Martin reserve Felipe Drugovich came in 18th fastest, standing in for Lance Stroll during the session’s opening part. Rounding up the order, Kevin Magnussen and Zhou finished the session.