Practice 1: Hamilton tops as McLaren pair fly

9 September, 2011

Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton ended first practice in Italy top of the timing sheets

Sep.9 (Reuters) Lewis Hamilton put recent controversy behind him and signalled his intent by setting the fastest lap time in the first free practice session of the Italian Grand Prix weekend, which was dominated by his McLaren team on Friday morning.

Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren.  Formula One World Championship, Rd 13, Italian Grand Prix, Practice Day, Monza, Italy, Friday 9 September 2011.

Lewis Hamilton in the Monza pitlane

The 2008 champion, who faced strong criticism after crashing out of the previous race in Belgium, roared around the fastest track on the calendar with a best time of one minute 23.865 seconds.

His team mate Jenson Button, the 2009 champion for Brawn, was second fastest on a sunny morning with a lap 0.921 seconds slower.

Red Bull’s world champion Sebastian Vettel, winner of seven of the 12 races so far and 92 points clear of closest rival and team mate Mark Webber in the standings, was third on the timesheets.

Webber, still without a win this year, was fourth with Red Bull looking immediately competitive despite declaring the circuit their worst of the season, while Germany’s Adrian Sutil was fifth for Force India.

Red Bull have never finished on the Monza podium, although Vettel won with sister team Toro Rosso in 2008.

Fernando Alonso had a subdued session

Fernando Alonso had a subdued session

With the battle lines seemingly drawn between McLaren and Red Bull, Ferrari made a slow start to the last Friday practice of the European season.

Fernando Alonso, who delighted the home fans with a win from pole last year, was only seventh fastest with Brazilian team mate Felipe Massa eighth.

Former Ferrari ace Michael Schumacher, still a favourite of the tifosi despite now racing for Mercedes at the age of 42, was 11th on the timesheets after going off at Parabolica without hitting the wall.

His enduring popularity was evident from the banners around the circuit, however.

“Michael, we always wish you well,” declared one sheet, written in Ferrari red lettering, festooned from the railings of the main grandstand.

Indian test and reserve driver Karun Chandhok replaced Italian Jarno Trulli at Team Lotus in the day’s opening session while Germany’s Nico Hulkenberg was in Paul Di Resta’s Force India.

Friday, 9 September – Practice 1

Pos No

Driver

Team

Time

Gap

Laps

1 3 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:23.865 18
2 4 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1:24.786 0.921 19
3 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:25.231 1.366 25
4 2 Mark Webber Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:25.459 1.594 24
5 14 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1:26.550 2.685 23
6 10 Vitaly Petrov Renault 1:26.625 2.760 20
7 5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:26.647 2.782 20
8 6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:26.676 2.811 24
9 17 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1:26.694 2.829 28
10 19 Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:26.696 2.831 15
11 7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1:26.699 2.834 21
12 15 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1:26.826 2.961 21
13 11 Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1:26.836 2.971 25
14 16 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1:26.996 3.131 29
15 12 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Cosworth 1:27.365 3.500 25
16 9 Bruno Senna Renault 1:27.385 3.520 23
17 18 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:27.433 3.568 25
18 8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:27.492 3.627 24
19 20 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Renault 1:29.539 5.674 10
20 21 Karun Chandhok Lotus-Renault 1:30.148 6.283 19
21 22 Daniel Ricciardo HRT-Cosworth 1:30.609 6.744 27
22 23 Vitantonio Liuzzi HRT-Cosworth 1:30.619 6.754 24
23 24 Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1:31.052 7.187 12
24 25 Jerome d’Ambrosio Virgin-Cosworth 1:31.899 8.034 22



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