Italian GP - Friday - Practice Session 1 Report
Button tops first session at Monza
Reigning champion Jenson Button topped the first session of free practice for the Italian Grand Prix at Monza when he lapped the Monza royal park in 1m23.693s, a tenth of a second quicker than Sebastian Vettel's Red Bull (1:23.790).
A number of the leading teams are undecided about whether to employ the F-duct with the low downforce set-ups that are unique to Monza. Both McLaren drivers utilised the device in the first session, with Hamilton (1:23.967) setting the third quickest time.
Monza is expected to play to McLaren's strengths with some viewing it as a 'must win' race for Hamilton, who currently leads the championship by three points from Red Bull's Mark Webber.
Robert Kubica (1:24.120) who put Renault among the leading contenders in Belgium a fortnight ago, again looks to be a threat, setting fourth quickest time of the morning, just nine thousandths clear of Nico Rosberg, who is looking to make amends for a poor Mercedes weekend in Belgium.
Webber (1:24.446) has started the weekend relatively quietly by Red Bull standards but team principal Christian Horner is confident that the RB6s will be challenging at the front, Monza being the venue of Sebastian Vettel's sensational pole position and debut F1 victory for Toro Rosso two years ago. Both cars sported aero paint in the opening session to learn more about airflow profiles with the unique downforce package as the teams no longer have the benefit of a pre-Monza test.
Force India came to Italy in expectation of another competitive showing and Tonio Liuzzi (1:23.512) finished the opening session in seventh place, ahead of both Ferraris. Fernando Alonso stopped the clock in 1:24.543 and Felipe Massa, 1:24.648. The top 10 was completed by Michael Schumacher's Mercedes (1:24.756).