Formula One: Bottas edges Hamilton, Ferrari close gap

Bottas in action during the first practice session. PHOTO: EPA

MONZA, Italy (AFP) - Valtteri Bottas outshone Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton with Ferrari in their slipstream in Friday afternoon's (Sept 1) second free practice for this weekend's Italian Grand Prix at Monza.

The Finn, second quickest behind three-time champion Hamilton in the morning, clocked a best lap in one minute and 21.406 to outpace the Briton by 0.056 seconds.

World championship leader Sebastian Vettel was third quickest for Ferrari, one-tenth of a second adrift, as the two leading teams closed up at the top ahead of the Italian outfit's annual home event.

Kimi Raikkonen was fourth in the second Ferrari, more than half a second beyond the reach of Dutchman Max Verstappen in the leading Red Bull and nearly a full second clear of Daniel Ricciardo in the second Renault powered machine.

Hamilton was again in fine form and together with a speedy Bottas demonstrated that it will take something special to stop him breaking Michael Schumacher's record by reeling off a fourth consecutive pole and the 69th of his career in qualifying on Saturday.

A strong showing from Belgian Stoffel Vandoorne and his McLaren team-mate Fernando Alonso also caught the eye as they took seventh and eighth ahead of Esteban Ocon of Force India and Felipe Massa of Williams.

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