F1 2011 Italian Grand Prix: Hamilton targets Monza glory
PUBLISHED: 20:19 08 September 2011 | UPDATED: 19:49 09 September 2011
FORMULA 1 racer Lewis Hamilton heads into first practice for the 2011 Italian Grand Prix tomorrow (Friday) hoping for his maiden victory at the historic Monza circuit.
Following his dramatic exit from last week’s Belgian Grand Prix, the 26-year-old F1 star from Hertfordshire is looking to get his season back on track in Italy.
And the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes ace is desperate to avoid a repeat of last season’s race at Monza, where he crashed out of the Italian GP on the opening lap at Lesmos after smacking into the Ferrari of Felipe Massa.
Hamilton enters this weekend’s race having failed to finish at Spa, where he was also involved in a collision with the Sauber of Japanese driver Kamui Kobayashi.
“Last year, I won at Spa and failed to finish at Monza,” said Herts-born Hamilton.
"I think we go into the weekend feeling pretty optimistic. I’ve never won at Monza and I’d love to get a good result this year."
“For this year, I guess I’m looking to reverse that sequence!
“I’ve already moved on from my non-finish in Belgium and I’m really looking forward to returning to Italy, a place where I spent a lot of time racing karts: it’s a country I really love.”
Having seen team-mate Jenson Button carve his way through the field for a podium in Spa, Hamilton is encouraged by McLaren’s current pace.
“I think we go into the weekend feeling pretty optimistic,” said the 2008 world champion.
“I’ve never won at Monza and I’d love to get a good result this year.”
Button was second in Italy last season behind the Ferrari of Fernando Alonso.
He said: “It’s going to be the usual difficult trade-off between drag and downforce to find the ultimate package for the race.
“Last year, Lewis and I opted to follow two different paths – Lewis went for the low-downforce configuration and I went for more grip, at the expense of straightline speed.
“That meant that, although I had the laptime, I didn’t quite have the opportunity to mount an attack for the lead, because I couldn’t get close enough along the straights to have a go into the braking areas.”
DRS will play a crucial factor this weekend and Hamilton added: “I think things are set for another very closely matched race – I’m really looking forward to it.”
First practice starts at 9am on Friday with the second 90-minute session from 1pm.
Qualifying takes place at 1pm on Saturday, with the race starting at the same time on Sunday.
* Click on the video to let Vodafone McLaren Mercedes principal race engineer Philip Prew guide you round a lap of the famous Monza circuit in Italy.
Video courtesy of Vodafone McLaren Mercedes.
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