McLaren enjoyed a perfect start to the Italian Grand Prix weekend, with Lewis Hamilton topping the times in the opening practice session on Friday. The Briton's best time of 1m23.865s put him nearly a second clear of teammate Jenson Button, second today in the other McLaren.
Championship leader Red Bull, which has never won at this track, had a low-key session, with Sebastian Vettel finishing in third place but over a full second behind Hamilton. Teammate Mark Webber was fourth. Adrian Sutil completed the top five in the Force India car.
Local heroes Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa also had a slow start to the weekend in the Ferraris, the Spaniard finishing down in seventh with the Brazilian right behind.
On a sunny and hot day at the Italian circuit, Jerome D'Ambrosio was the first man to set a time with some 15 minutes gone, as the rest of the drivers spending the initial part of the session completing installation laps, with very little action on track in the first half hour.
Only at the 30-minute mark D'Ambrosio's time was bettered, by some nine seconds, after HRT's Daniel Ricciardo completed his first timed lap, the Australian then going some three seconds quicker on the following lap. He stayed on top until he was outpaced by Toro Rosso's Jaime Alguersuari at the 33-minute mark. The Spanish driver improved his time to a 1m27.224s moments later, leaving him over half a second clear of the field as more drivers began to set times.
World Champion Vettel shot to the top of the times with 40 minutes of the session gone, the Red Bull driver stopping the clock at 1m26.381s and then at a 1m25.914s, with teammate Webber moving into second place at the same time.
Hamilton then took the top spot with some 40 minutes of the session left, the McLaren driver the first man to lap in the 1m24s in the McLaren. The Briton's time stayed as the best until the final three minutes of the session, when Hamilton himself went quicker, posting a 1m24.127s and then a 1m23.865s to end on top.
Michael Schumacher was the protagonist of one of the few incidents of the session when he went off at Parabolica nearing the one-hour mark, the German lucky to avoid contact with the wall. Nearly at the same time, Lotus' Heikki Kovalainen's session came to an end after the Finn was forced to park his car due to a technical problem. Kovalainen managed just 10 laps before his stoppage.
D'Ambrosio also stopped on track with some sort of problem with around 15 minutes left, the Belgian having to leave his Virgin parked on track. Teammate Timo Glock did not have a very productive session either, the German managing few laps as the team carried out a lot of checks to the new parts introduced.
Pos Driver Team Time Laps
1. Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1m23.865s 18
2. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m24.786s + 0.921 19
3. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m25.231s + 1.366 25
4. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m25.459s + 1.594 24
5. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m26.550s + 2.685 23
6. Vitaly Petrov Renault 1m26.625s + 2.760 20
7. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m26.647s + 2.782 20
8. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m26.676s + 2.811 24
9. Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1m26.694s + 2.829 28
10. Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m26.696s + 2.831 15
11. Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1m26.699s + 2.834 21
12. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m26.826s + 2.961 21
13. Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1m26.836s + 2.971 25
14. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1m26.996s + 3.131 29
15. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Cosworth 1m27.365s + 3.500 25
16. Bruno Senna Renault 1m27.385s + 3.520 23
17. Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m27.433s + 3.568 25
18. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m27.492s + 3.627 24
19. Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Renault 1m29.539s + 5.674 10
20. Karun Chandhok Lotus-Renault 1m30.148s + 6.283 19
21. Daniel Ricciardo HRT-Cosworth 1m30.609s + 6.744 27
22. Tonio Liuzzi HRT-Cosworth 1m30.619s + 6.754 24
23. Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1m31.052s + 7.187 12
24. Jerome D'Ambrosio Virgin-Cosworth 1m31.899s + 8.034 22
All Timing Unofficial