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Tuesday, 18 December, 2018

Max Verstappen could make the most of rain at Monza

Ferrari fastest in dry Friday practice

Marcus Ericsson escaped unhurt after a huge accident in second practice
1 of 1

Italian Grand Prix qualifying
Sky Sports F1, 2pm Saturday

The amount of rain on Friday at Monza didn't quite live up to the expected deluge, but storms are still in the area and they could have an effect on Saturday's Italian Grand Prix sessions.

Final practice looks set to be run in heavy rain and qualifying could be affected too, which would make it three consecutive F1 qualifying sessions in which wet-weather tyres were needed.

Sergio Perez - an 80-1 shot - headed the opening practice session for Racing Point Force India, the first time the Mexican has topped a practice session in his seven-year career. 

In the dry in the afternoon though it was a more familiar order with Ferrari drivers Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen fastest ahead of championship leader Lewis Hamilton and his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas.

Vettel is odds-on for pole and in a dry session it's hard to see beyond the German.

However, Hamilton snatched pole in the rain in Belgium and Hungary - two tracks where Vettel and Ferrari had appeared to have the upper hand.

Hamilton is not without appeal at 9-4 to spoil Ferrari's party again but at much bigger odds a speculative bet is advised on Max Verstappen.

Despite an upgraded Renault engine, the Dutchman would have no chance of making the front row in the dry, but rain makes Monza a completely different test and at the prices it's worth a dabble.

Verstappen set the second-fastest time in last year's wet qualifying in Italy. Indeed he was top of the pile until a late wonder lap from Hamilton.

And in 2008 Vettel announced himself on the big stage by taking pole in a Toro Rosso at a wet Monza and winning the race the next day.

The Red Bulls looked quick in the wet in Belgium last week until a strategic blunder prevented them from challenging for pole position.

Daniel Ricciardo is unlikely to feature in the top-ten shootout as his engine upgrade pushes him beyond his seasonal allocation and the Aussie will therefore start from the back.

Renault's Nico Hulkenberg will join him on the last row. the German also has engine penalties as well as a ten-place grid drop as punishment for causing the first-corner carnage at Spa last week.

M Verstappen fastest qualifier
0.5pt each-way 40-1 bet365, Ladbrokes

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Vettel is odds-on for pole and in a dry session it's hard to see beyond the German
E.W. Terms
Sky bet