Home team, Ferrari is celebrating its 70th year this weekend but will hope for a significant improvement as the weekend progresses. Championship leader Sebastian Vettel set third fastest ahead of his Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen, the Italian outfit are 1.1 seconds down on the Silver Arrows.
Red Bull drivers Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen set fifth and sixth respectively, both are also set for engine penalties.
Force India duo Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon made seventh and eighth place correspondingly, back in the car for the first time since their controversial collision at the Belgian Grand Prix.
Stoffel Vandoorne set ninth fastest and Felipe Massa rounded out the top ten for Williams. The second McLaren speedy Fernando Alonso takes 35-place grid drop. Toro Rosso driver Carlos Sainz also take grid penalty for Italian GP.
“Mercedes looked good. 1.4 seconds quicker than last year,” says former F1 driver and Sky F1 pundit Martin Brundle.
“I can’t believe Ferrari have shown their hand in full yet. I’m not panicking but it does look good for the Merc.”
Brundle on the battle between the two Force India drivers.
“I think they could have won in Baku. They need to calm that down before somebody gets hurt.
“Force India have a very unusual situation – Ocon is a Mercedes youngster while Perez has a deal which brings in a lot of sponsorship. I don’t think they can control their two drivers the way other teams can.”