F1: Monza track to suit Hamilton’s McLaren car at Italian GP

LEWIS Hamilton goes in first free practice for the 2010 Italian Grand Prix tomorrow (Friday) morning in a McLaren car expected to suit Monza’s historic track.

The 25-year-old Formula 1 driver from Herts heads out onto the famous Monza circuit as the bookies’ favourite this weekend.

That judgement is based on the fact Hamilton won last month’s Belgian Grand Prix at a wet Spa-Francorchamps and Monza’s configuration will suit the McLaren Mercedes more than closest rivals Red Bull.

Hamilton loves racing at Monza, a track he describes as an “incredible circuit”.

The Tewin F1 hero said: “It has a special feeling in the air that you don’t find anywhere else in the world. It’s a circuit that inspires you to race at your limit, and I’ll be pushing hard all weekend.”

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Reigning world champion Jenson Button – Hamilton’s team-mate – certainly feels McLaren have the machinery to do well in Italy.

He said: “We’re developing the car at a very rapid rate, and we’re learning more about it all the time, so I’m optimistic that we’ll be able to maintain that form in Italy.

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“We still have some work to do to make sure the package we bring to Italy is perfectly suited to the track, but I’m confident that our engineers have made some good steps forward with their understanding of our car, so we should be in good shape.”

He added: “I love racing at Monza – it’s a totally unique experience; running minimal downforce at incredible speeds along the straights, and then coping with the lack of grip, and an extremely skittish car, through the low-speed stuff.

“Given the competitiveness at the front of the field, this could be an intense, thrilling grand prix.”

Hamilton’s team boss, Martin Whitmarsh, says a lot of hard work has gone into making the McLaren car competitive ahead of this weekend’s final European grand prix of the season.

“Even though, on paper, the Monza circuit’s characteristics appear to suit our package, developing a car that performs well on one of the most unique venues on the Formula 1 calendar is no easy job,” said Whitmarsh.

“The low-downforce, extreme high-speed nature of Monza demands its own bespoke aero package – and getting that downforce level correct is not as straightforward as it seems.

“We require a complex number of mechanical and aerodynamic variables to work harmoniously if we are to provide both Jenson and Lewis with front-running machinery this weekend.”

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