Italian GP - Friday - Practice Session 1 Report

Not Seeing Red

Lewis Hamilton, Italian GP 2013

Lewis Hamilton, Italian GP 2013 

 © The Cahier Archive

The Tifosi come to Monza to see red, Ferrari red, go fastest. But they got to see silver – Mercedes Silver Arrows – top the times in Friday morning's Free Practice 1 for the Italian Grand Prix.

Lewis Hamilton was quickest in the session in his Mercedes, but at least Fernando Alonso was second in the Ferrari. More silver was in third – Nico Rosberg/Mercedes – followed by Sebastian Vettel in the blue/purple Red Bull and Kimi Raikkonen in the black Lotus.

Rookie Max Chilton (Marussia) was the first driver to head out onto the famed straight of the Autodromo Nazionale Monza.

The ambient air temperature at the start of the 90-minute session was 80 degrees Fahrenheit (26 degrees Celsius), and the track temperature was also 86 degrees Fahrenheit (30 degrees Celsius).

The Tofosi, of course, was here to see Ferrari, and Alonso waved to the fans as he came in after his installation lap. After all the drivers had completed one or two laps they headed to the pits to have their cars checked over.

Pirelli's hard compound slick, with the orange sidewalls, was the tire of choice for the opening laps.

Vettel, who won his first F1 race at Monza in 2009 (and the first of this 31 career victories) was the first to venture out for a third lap but he pitted at the end of the lap and headed for the Red Bull garage.

James Caldo took over Adrian Sutil's Force India for this session.

Marussia's reserve driver Rodolfo Gonzalez replaced Jules Bianchi for the FP1 session. 21 minutes into the session, he became the first driver to set a flying lap with a 1:34.918, and then lowered that to a 1:30.795.

Alonso, meanwhile, lounged in his comfy chair in the Ferrari garage.

Jenson Button (McLaren) headed out to join Gonzalez who had now turned a 1:30.277. Button beat that with a 1:29.494, and then the McLaren driver lowered that to a 1:27.715.

More drivers were on track now, including Sergio Perez who clocked a 1:27.238 in his McLaren, and improved it to a 1:26.497 and then a 1:26.007.

47 minutes into the session, Vettel went quickest with a 1:25.914. Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus) moved up to second with a 1:26.003

The top six midway through the session were: Vettel, Raikkonen, Perez, Mark Webber (Red Bull), Nico Rosberg (Mercedes) and Felipe Massa (Ferrari.)

Lewis Hamilton, meanwhile, had turned just two laps and had yet to set a time in his Mercedes. Paul di Resta had done just one lap in his Force India.

47 minutes into the session, Hamilton got going and quickly jumped up to 13th place with a time of 1:26.979.

And then Alonso topped the times with a 125.863.

56 minutes into the session, Hamilton topped that with a 1:25.565. Alonso improved to a 1:25.600. And Vettel was third with a 1:25.753.

With 20 minutes remaining in the session, Nico Hulkenberg radioed the Sauber pit that his car had a gearbox problem. He headed slowly back to the pits.

Rosberg moved up to third with a 1:25.704. With 13 minutes remaining in the session, Hamilton, Alonso, Rosberg, Vettel, Raikkonen and Perez.

With 10 minutes remaining in the session, Hulkenberg tried to leave the pits only to have his car stall. The Sauber mechanics pushed it back into the garage.

The session wound down with the top six unchanged: Hamilton, Alonso, Rosberg, Vettel, Raikkonen and Perez.

Button, Webber, Pastor Maldonado (Williams) and Jean-Eric Vergne (Toro Rosso) rounded out the top 10.

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