Italian GP - Friday - Practice Session 1 Report
Just .007 of a second separated the two works Mercedes drivers 30 minutes into Free Practice 1 for the Italian Grand Prix with Lewis Hamilton setting a lap time of 1:27.064 and Nico Rosberg posting a 1:27.071. The duo has been the center of attention ever since their controversial clash on lap 2 of the Belgian Grand Prix. And now the world waited to see what would happen at Monza.
At the end of the session, Hamilton was still fastest having lowered his time to a 1:26.187. Jenson Button put his McLaren into second with a 1:26.810 while Rosberg wound up third with a 1:26.995.
The ambient temperature at the start of the session was 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 degrees Centigrade) and the track temperature was 75 degrees Fahrenheit (24 degrees Centigrade.)
Caterham driver Marcus Ericsson was the first out on the 3.599-mile (5.793-km) 11-turn Monza track as FP1 got underway.
Roberto Merhi was in the other Caterham in place of Kamui Kobayashi. The other FP1 driver changes: Giedo van der Garde replacing Adrian Sutil at Sauber; Charles Pic replacing Romain Grosjean at Lotus; and Daniel Juncadella replacing Sergio Perez at Force India.
The drivers were using Pirelli's hard compound slicks with the orange sidewalls.
15 minutes into the session, Max Chilton (Marussia) set the first lap time - 1:33.435.
18 minutes into the session, Kevin Magnussen lowered the bar to 1:28.256 in his McLaren. Felipe Massa moved his Williams into second place ahead of Nico Rosberg (Mercedes) and Valtteri Bottas (Williams.)
24 minutes into the session, Magnussen was a man on the move, and he lowered his time to 1:27.228 while his teammate Jenson Button climbed to second only to be ousted by Rosberg who posted a 1:27.297.
26 minutes into the session, Button responded with a 1:27.158. The Mercedes power was certainly benefiting McLaren on Monza's long straights. Lewis Hamilton in the works Mercedes then slotted into first with a 1:27.064.
30 minutes into the session, the top 10 were: Hamilton, Rosberg, Button, Magnussen, Fernando Alonso (Ferrari), Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari), Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull), Esteban Gutierrez (Sauber), Massa and Bottas.
Just .007 of a second separated the two works Mercedes drivers.
Quite a few drivers seemed reluctant to go out as the final hour of the session got underway, but Raikkonen and Vettel were not shy, nor were Toro Rosso teammates Daniil Kvyat and Jean-Eric Vergne.
The next 30 minutes saw drivers going out here and there. Kvyat moved into sixth place, and then Vettel jumped up to fifth. Then the times started to come down.
59 minutes into the session, Button took to the top charts with a 1:26.810. Daniel Ricciardo, meanwhile, pitted with a problem on his Red Bull.
At the one hour mark the top 10 were: Button, Hamilton, Rosberg, Alonso, Magnussen, Vettel, Raikkonen, Kvyat, Gutierrez and Massa.
With 22 minutes remaining in the session, Sergio Perez was on track after having done just 2 laps so far. Juncadella had driven/paid for just part of the session, so now Perez was back in the car.
With 20 minutes remaining in the session, Hamilton turned a 1:26.547 to grab first place. He then lowered that to 1:26.187, which was a full six-tenths of a second quicker than Button. It didn't take Perez long to climb to eighth place.
With 7 minutes remaining in the session, 19 drivers were on track, but nobody was getting anywhere near Hamilton's lap time as the teams were doing long runs and race simulations.
The top 10 at the end of FP1 were: Hamilton, Button, Rosberg, Alonso, Magnussen, Vettel, Raikkonen, Perez, Kvyat and Nico Hulkenberg (Force India.)