Rain's a pain for Hamilton's McLaren team at Monza

PUBLISHED: 18:51 12 September 2008 | UPDATED: 22:26 26 October 2009

The McLaren team take shelter from the storm   Pictures courtesy of www.mclaren.com

The McLaren team take shelter from the storm Pictures courtesy of www.mclaren.com

RAIN ruined this morning s practice ahead of the Italian Grand Prix in Monza. The early session of the day was almost a complete washout for the McLaren Mercedes team. Tewin s Lewis Hamilton and his team-mate Heikki Kovalainen completed just one lap each

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RAIN ruined this morning's practice ahead of the Italian Grand Prix in Monza.

The early session of the day was almost a complete washout for the McLaren Mercedes team.

Tewin's Lewis Hamilton and his team-mate Heikki Kovalainen completed just one lap each during a frustrating period.

Conditions were so bad that at one stage even the pit lane succumbed to a flood, with water having to be swept out of the team's garage.

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Things were a little better in the afternoon session.

Hamilton said: "Obviously, it was very wet this morning so we only did the bare minimum of running - namely one installation lap.

"The afternoon's session started in slightly mixed conditions, the circuit was drying, but with damp patches, so there was little to gain from going out early."

The Herts F1 hero did manage 25 laps in the afternoon and set a best time of 1 minute 23.983 seconds.

"By the end of the session we got some useful mileage under our belts, and I'm happy with our progress," said Hamilton.

McLaren chief Ron Dennis was also pleased with the work his team did manage to put in.

"The heavy rains effectively reduced us to effectively zero running in the opening practice session.

"This afternoon we concentrated on running on heavy fuel-loads in order to refine our race set-up and tyre choice for Sunday's grand prix.

"We've made good progress in both areas and are looking competitive for the rest of the weekend."

Norbert Haug, vice-president of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport, added: "After the flooding here this morning and a water attack to the pits, our afternoon was so much better.

"We chose a conservative approach and focused on our preparations for the race.

"If you looked at the long runs, I could see nobody being more consistent than Lewis."

Hamilton currently leads the drivers' championship by two points from Felipe Massa after being controversially stripped of victory in last weekend's Belgian Grand Prix at Spa.

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