Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes dominated the two practice sessions ahead of the Italian Grand Prix. The Silver Arrows were far ahead of their closest challengers at Monza.
Free Practice 1
The first practice session gave a hint of what was to come. Straight away Red Bull and Toro Rosso were struggling as the lack of power became apparent at the high speed Monza circuit, despite their specific Monza aero set up. The two Red Bull's struggled to seventh and twelfth respectively while Toro Rosso could only manage fourteenth and sixteenth.
Meanwhile Force India's car appeared to be perfectly suited to the high speed laps as for the first time a team appeared to really trouble the Ferrari's as they managed to put Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez in between the two Ferrari's. Hulkenberg led the way as he really put the pressure on with a time just half a second behind Sebastian Vettel's.
While it isn't much of a surprise to see the two Mercedes' out in front, the margin between them and the rest of the field was immense. Nico Rosberg was well over a second clear of Vettel while Hamilton pushed that gap closer to two seconds clear. Clearly the engine upgrade Mercedes introduced for this race is not only working, but pushing them to the point where even Ferrari won't be able to be slightly near them.
Free Practice 2
The second practice session was more of the same for Mercedes as they kept improving their times, however Vettel slightly closed the gap. This time the Italian powered cars were just o.7 seconds off the Mercedes' time.
However, it was the Lotus' who were the surprise packages as they managed to leap frog both of the Williams cars and finish seventh (Romain Grosjean) and eighth (Pastor Maldonado). The Williams' only just managed to keep the cars in the top 10 as they came ninth (Valtteri Bottas) and tenth (Felipe Massa).
Red Bull however seemed to somehow fall even further from their already poor position as Daniel Ricciardo dropped down to thirteenth, Daniil Kvyat had a worse session though as he dropped all the way to twentieth. The biggest battle though was between the two Silver Arrows at the front.
Because of these new Mercedes' upgrades, both of the drivers knew there was no chance of anybody else coming close, allowing them to fight each other without any possible repercussions. In the end it was the reigning World Champion Lewis Hamilton who won the battle. Hamilton's best lap was just 0.021 secs ahead of Rosberg's best time.
Free Practice would appear to suggest that this weekend while there will be no doubt on which constructor will secure the win this weekend, although there could be a very interesting battle within the team, with both Lewis and Nico appearing to be posting similar lap times.
The Italian fans of Ferrari would appear to have serious concerns as it appears Force India could be in line to secure a very surprising podium ahead of Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen.