F1: Hamilton fourth fastest in Monza practice for Italian Grand Prix

LEWIS Hamilton was fourth fastest in the second Italian Grand Prix practice session around the historic Monza circuit.

Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel set the pace in the afternoon session in Italy with a 1m 22.839s.

He was marginally quicker than the Ferraris of Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa, who clocked 1m 22.915s and 1m 23.061s respectively.

Hamilton was fourth best on the timesheets with a 1m23.154s ahead of McLaren team-mate Jenson Button, who had been quickest in the morning.

However, for a comparison, McLaren Mercedes mechanics experimented by taking the aerodynamic F-duct off Hamilton’s car during today’s second practice.

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At the time, Formula 1 world champion Button said: “Lewis’s car looks quite strange without the F-duct, doesn’t it?”

Watched by England football manager Fabio Capello, Hamilton’s first timed lap of the afternoon session was a 1m25.638s, only 17th fastest.

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However, he soon improved to set a 1m 23.869s personal best – second fastest behind his McLaren colleague Button.

The 25-year-old from Herts then clocked a 1m23.319s, indicating that both McLaren’s high and low-downforce packages are quite evenly matched around the famous Monza track, the fastest on the F1 calendar.

A flying Hamilton went fastest overall with a lap of 1m23.154s before retuning to the pits to discus the low-downforce set-up with race engineer Andy Latham.

Hamilton’s second run out of track was soon curtailed by front-wing damage.

He snapped the footplate, possibly on a kerb, and returned to the pits for repairs.

During his time in the garage, Vettel, Alonso and Massa all went faster.

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