Lewis Hamilton is in optimistic mood for qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix, as he reckons his KERS system will give him a four-tenths of a second advantage.
"I'm pleased with our progress," said the McLaren driver after practice, in which he finished in 11th position. "It's always a little nerve-wracking when you arrive at a unique circuit such as this because you want to see if you've taken the right direction with the car's aerodynamics. But this morning's session showed us that the engineers had made a very accurate assessment of what would be needed.
"KERS certainly helps around here – we can expect it to be worth nearly four tenths in qualifying tomorrow – but we also made some good progress with our overall package. This afternoon was spent on heavier fuel loads, so you can't read too much into the times, but I'm encouraged by where we are."
McLaren, Ferrari and Renault are the only three teams using KERS this weekend,
Hamilton's teammate Heikki Kovalainen was also encouraged by his team's showing, the Finn claiming McLaren is in better form than expected.
"At Monza, you're always facing the problem of balancing overall downforce with grip through the corners – and I think today was possibly better than we anticipated," he said. "We're quicker in the corners than we were last year, which is good.
"The KERS advantage here is nearly four tenths per lap, so it's really helpful along the straights and out of the slower corners. Others have more downforce compared with us, but we have this fantastic KERS from Mercedes-Benz.
"It's funny: the teams have all adopted different technical solutions but the lap times are still very close together – that's the beauty of Formula 1."