Force India driver Sergio Perez set the fastest time in the first practice for the Italian Grand Prix on Friday. Perez was .550 seconds quicker than Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen and .593 clear of teammate Esteban Ocon in an unlikely top three. Title rivals Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel stayed mainly away from the track in rainy conditions.
Hamilton, the championship leader, was 11th, 2.546 slower than Perez after doing only six laps in his Mercedes to the Mexican’s 18. Vettel missed most of the running following a gearbox change on his Ferrari. The German was 17th, 3.867 slower than Perez after completing only four laps.
More rain is forecast for Saturday morning but it is expected to be dry for qualifying and the race on Sunday.