F1 2014 Monza Italian Grand Prix: Hamilton fastest in practice
PUBLISHED: 17:09 05 September 2014 | UPDATED: 17:18 05 September 2014
Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton was fastest on the first day of practice ahead of the 2014 Italian Grand Prix at Monza.
The 29-year-old Mercedes AMG Petronas star from Hertfordshire topped the timesheets at the historic Monza circuit today (Friday).
Hamilton set the pace in the first session in Italy, with Silver Arrows rival Nico Rosberg leading the way in the afternoon.
However, a component change after an electronic problem limited Hamilton’s running in the second session.
The 2008 F1 world champion’s time set in first practice of 1m 26.187s was still enough to remain the best after both sessions today.
Monza – the stats you need
* Race distance: 53 laps (306.720km/190.596 miles)
* Start time: 14:00 (local)/12:00 (GMT)
* Circuit length: 5.793km/3.600 miles
* 2013 winner: Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull) 53 laps in 1hr18m 33.352s (234.268km/h)
* 2013 pole: Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull) 1m23.755s (248.997km/h)
* Lap record: Rubens Barrichello (Ferrari F2004) 1m21.046s (257.320km/h)
* First championship race 1950
Afterwards Hamilton said: “I felt really good after the practice session this morning and we have definitely got a competitive car this weekend.
“Unfortunately we lost some track time this afternoon but the guys did a great job to get me back out so I got a few laps at least.
“We made some changes over lunch and then another during the session and, although I didn’t have a lot of laps, the car feels great.”
Looking ahead to Saturday, Hamilton added: “Hopefully I’ll be able to have the full session tomorrow and get some good running.
“Monza is quite an important circuit to put the car at the front as it’s very difficult to overtake here.
“It would be great to have a trouble-free qualifying tomorrow afternoon.”
Mercedes sparring partner Rosberg’s best lap of 1m 26.225s in P2 meant that he ended the session quickest, with just 0.061s between him and Hamilton.
Rosberg said: “It seems that we are quick on one lap but on the long run the others were very fast.
“I didn’t feel 100 per cent confident in the car, so I can’t be happy with today and I have a lot of work to do tonight with the boys.
“It’s really great to be back on such a traditional track here at Monza with all the history.
“Now being here with this quick Silver Arrow makes it very special for me.”
Mercedes used both the medium and the hard tyres today in each session, and the team completed a total of 108 laps.
Italian GP timetable
* Friday, September 5
Practice 1: 9am – 10.30am
Practice 2: 1pm – 2.30pm
* Saturday, September 6
Practice 3: 10am – 11am
* Sunday, September 7
Team supremo Toto Wolff said: “It was a mixed day for us. Nico had a smooth day and completed his planned programme.
“With Lewis, we lost a lot of running due to an electronic problem. We need to identify the cause and resolve that this evening.
“Obviously it’s not ideal but Lewis did a good job to recover and put in some strong laps.
“We need to work hard tonight to make sure the performance is at our full potential – and that our reliability is bullet proof.”
Mercedes technical director Paddy Lowe added: “Nico ran a normal programme in today’s two practice sessions, exploring the different tyre compounds and the unique aerodynamic set-up we use here in Monza.
“As always here in Monza, it is a challenge to get the tyre in the right condition at the same time as putting together three strong sectors.
“For Lewis, the day was a little more interrupted. We suffered an electronic problem firing up Lewis’ engine in first practice which cost some track time, but we made some adjustments in order to run normally.
“Unfortunately he then experienced a more severe recurrence at the start of second practice. This meant he lost around 45 minutes of track time as we replaced additional components which appeared to resolve the issue.
“Although this wasn’t his race engine, we will be working hard tonight to identify and eliminate the precise cause.
“Out on track, Lewis made the best of his limited running and got a feel for the car on both tyre types and at high fuel.
“In terms of our performance, this is never a comfortable situation, and we will be working hard to optimise further for qualifying and the race.”
Qualifying for the 2014 Italian Grand Prix starts at Monza at 1pm on Saturday.
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