Sergio Perez led Force India to the top of the timesheets in a rain-hit opening Formula 1 practice session for the Italian Grand Prix, finishing half a second clear of Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen

Heavy rain throughout the morning left the track soaked, resulting in the cancellation of the GP3 practice session that was due to precede the opening F1 practice session.

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The rain eased enough for drivers to head out from the very start of FP1, making the switch from extreme wet tyres to intermediates early in the session.

Low grip conditions saw a number of drivers experience off-track moments, with Max Verstappen having a big sideways moment at Parabolica before saving the spin and continuing.

A flurry of late improvements on a drying track in the closing minutes of the session ended with Perez shooting up to P1 on his final flying lap, recording a best lap of 1m34.000s.

The lap saw Perez knock Raikkonen off the head of the standings, leave the Finn to settle for second place. Perez’s Force India teammate, Esteban Ocon, finished third-fastest, less than half a tenth behind Raikkonen.

Brendon Hartley took fourth place for Toro Rosso, two places ahead of teammate Pierre Gasly, with Daniel Ricciardo splitting the duo for Red Bull. Max Verstappen followed in seventh place ahead of the Renault pair of Carlos Sainz Jr. and Nico Hulkenberg.

Mercedes opted to limit its running in the session as Valtteri Bottas completed just eight laps en route to P10 ahead of teammate Lewis Hamilton in 11th, who clocked up six laps.

Charles Leclerc took 12th for Sauber ahead of Kevin Magnussen and Fernando Alonso, with Romain Grosjean taking P15 for haas. Marcus Ericsson followed in P16.

Sebastian Vettel recorded just four laps for Ferrari as a hydraulic issue prompted the team to change the spare gearbox on his car, leaving the German driver 17th overall ahead of Williams drivers Sergey Sirotkin and Lance Stroll in P18 and P19 respectively.

Lando Norris propped up the timesheets in his second FP1 appearance for McLaren, finishing 4.2 seconds off Perez’s time. Stoffel Vandoorne will return to the McLaren MCL33 for FP2 later today.

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