Monza Practice 3: Hamilton tops by 0.001 seconds from Alonso
8 September, 2012
Sep.8 (GP247) It could hardly have been any closer at the very top of the timing screens as Lewis Hamilton ended the third and final free practice session of the Italian Grand Prix a mere 0.001 seconds faster than Fernando Alonso, setting the scene for a fascinating qualifying session at Monza.
McLaren’s Hamilton set his best time during his final run on the medium compound tyres, displacing Alonso whose Ferrari had topped the timing screens for most of the session. The Spaniard using some crafty slip-streaming, in conjunction with teammate Felipe Massa, to extract the maximum from the F2012 on the high speed circuit.
Hamilton’s best time of 1 minute 24.578 seconds was three quarters of a second up on the best time he set in FP2 the previous day.
A quarter second down on the leading duo was next best, Paul Di Resta in the force India who split the Ferrari pair after the 60 minute session. Massa was fourth.
Spa winner Jenson Button was fifth fastest, ahead of Nico Rosberg in the Mercedes and Sergio Perez in the Sauber, making it four Mercedes powered cars and three Ferrari powered cars in the top seven.
Best of the Renault powered posse was again Kimi Raikkonen in the Lotus, but his teammate Jerome D’Ambrosio (temporarily replacing Romain Grosjean) could only manage 17th.
Nico Hulkenberg was half a second down on his Force India teammate and in ninth place on the timing sheets, ahead of Williams driver Pastor Maldonado who rounded out the top ten.
Creased brows and glum looks were the order of the morning on the Red Bull gantry as there drivers Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel ended the session 11th and 12 respectively. But the apparent lack of pace was not the only cause for concern, because with a few minutes to go in the session they watched in bemusement as Vettel coasted to a halt informing his team over the radio: “no battery”.
The world champions are either putting on an Oscar winning bluff or have a serious problem ahead of qualifying…as they did a week ago at Spa.
At the sharp end it is all to play for in qualifying, but in truth pole at Monza will not be vital. On the evidence of the morning session there are several top spot contenders but betting against either Mclaren or Alonso would be unwise.
Having said that, at the end of the session there were seven different constructors in the top ten while 1.111 seconds separated the top 15 drivers. F1 has never been so close.
Subbed by AJN.
Italian Grand Prix, Free Practice 3 – Saturday, 8 September 2012
|3||11||Paul di Resta||Force India-Mercedes||1:24.849||0.271||20|
|9||12||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India-Mercedes||1:25.289||0.711||20|
|11||2||Mark Webber||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:25.389||0.811||21|
|12||1||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:25.406||0.828||17|
|24||22||Pedro de la Rosa||HRT-Cosworth||1:28.384||3.806||17|
- Only a red race suit will stop Vettel boos at Monza says Schumacher
- Red Bull baffled by Monza gearbox problems reveals Newey
- Alonso: We need to be lucky and we need to have some DNFs from Sebastian
- Hamilton: I need to win every race which is the tallest order ever but I can try
- Webber: Sebastian won the race and the atmosphere is not completely correct
- Vettel: The more booing we get the better we have done, it’s normal
- Alonso: Zero tension at Ferrari and we fight for the championship
- Ferrari: In the end we could not have done better than this
- Webber: Very happy to be on the podium here at Monza, a brilliant experience
- Red Bull: Very impressive how whole team contributed to fantastic result