F1: Hamilton third quickest at Monza in Italian Grand Prix practice

RACE favourite Lewis Hamilton was third fastest in first practice for Sunday’s 2010 Italian Grand Prix at Monza.

Hamilton’s McLaren Mercedes colleague Jenson Button topped the timesheets in today’s (Friday’s) opening session.

The reigning F1 world champion was fastest overall this morning with a 1m 23.693s, while Lewis was third on a 1m 23.967s.

Hamilton, the 25-year-old Formula 1 driver from Herts, was quickest in the opening 45 minutes of the 90-minute session at the historic Italian track.

The Vodafone McLaren Mercedes star powered out of the famous Parabolica turn to start his timed laps at 9.28am.

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And the 2008 F1 world champion soon set a 1m 25.816s – the fastest time of the session up to that point.

Hamilton underlined his early pace by then clocking a 1m25.623s – two tenths quicker than his previous lap.

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Clearly getting into the groove around the Parco di Monza, he continued to improve his lap time with a 1m 24.990s, almost a second faster than the next quickest runner.

The Tewin F1 hero told the team over the radio: “The car feels pretty good.”

Lewis then returned to the garage and McLaren team-mate Button donned his helmet for his first run of the day.

As the track got considerably busier, Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel beat Hamilton’s opening time and Button went second on the timesheets.

Reigning world champion Button improved on that with a 1m 23.756s lap to go fastest overall.

On returning to the track after making a number of set-up changes, Lewis also improved his best time, shaving it down to under 1m 24.0s – third fastest behind Button (1m23.693s) and Vettel (1m23.790s).

Robert Kubica was fourth best for Renault ahead of Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg, with Mark Webber sixth in the other Red Bull.

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