McLaren a second clear in first practice

2011 Italian GP first practice

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Monza, 2011

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Monza, 2011

McLaren headed the first practice times by a full second in Monza.

Lewis Hamilton ended the session quickest ahead of Jenson Button, with Sebastian Vettel 1.3 seconds behind in third.

The session got off to a quiet start with only Jerome d’Ambrosio and Daniel Ricciardo setting times in the first half hour.

Jaime Alguersuari briefly headed the times before Vettel took over at the top with a 1’26.381.

Vettel improved his time by half a second over the following laps before Hamilton set a 1’25.203 to displace him at the top of the times.

Hamilton showed considerable pace, improving his best time to a 1’24.512, over a second quicker than either of the Red Bulls. Button moved up to second, around nine-tenths off Hamilton.

Towards the end of the session Vettel improved his time and split the two McLarens. However Button took the place back with five minutes to go and Hamilton signed off with the fastest lap of the session, a 1’23.865.

Adrian Sutil moved up to fifth ahead of Vitaly Petrov with his last lap. The Renault driver was fastest in a straight line, hitting 347kph in the speed trap.

That pushed Fernando Alonso down to seventh, 2.7 seconds off Hamilton, with Felipe Massa fractionally slower.

Sergio Perez and Jaime Alguersuari completed the top ten.

Lotus had a problematic start to the weekend: Karun Chandhok, driving Jarno Trulli’s car, came into the pits complaining the controls on his wheel weren’t working.

Later on Heikki Kovalainen came to a stop at Lesmo 1 after getting stuck in second gear.

Jerome d’Ambrosio also hit trouble in his Virgin, stopping with smoke coming from the back of the car at the Rettifilio. Team mate Timo Glock was delayed by a sensor problem.

Pos. Car Driver Car Best lap Gap Laps
1 3 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1’23.865 18
2 4 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’24.786 0.921 19
3 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’25.231 1.366 25
4 2 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’25.459 1.594 24
5 14 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1’26.550 2.685 23
6 10 Vitaly Petrov Renault 1’26.625 2.760 20
7 5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’26.647 2.782 20
8 6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’26.676 2.811 24
9 17 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1’26.694 2.829 28
10 19 Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’26.696 2.831 15
11 7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’26.699 2.834 21
12 15 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1’26.826 2.961 21
13 11 Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1’26.836 2.971 25
14 16 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1’26.996 3.131 29
15 12 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Cosworth 1’27.365 3.500 25
16 9 Bruno Senna Renault 1’27.385 3.520 23
17 18 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’27.433 3.568 25
18 8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’27.492 3.627 24
19 20 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Renault 1’29.539 5.674 10
20 21 Karun Chandhok Lotus-Renault 1’30.148 6.283 19
21 22 Daniel Ricciardo HRT-Cosworth 1’30.609 6.744 27
22 23 Vitantonio Liuzzi HRT-Cosworth 1’30.619 6.754 24
23 24 Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1’31.052 7.187 12
24 25 Jerome D’Ambrosio Virgin-Cosworth 1’31.899 8.034 22

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52 comments on McLaren a second clear in first practice

  1. Jake (@jleigh) said on 9th September 2011, 10:38

    very early to read anything…but Lewis looks like he’s on a bit of a mission this weekend

  2. John H said on 9th September 2011, 10:41

    Ferrari 2.7 seconds off the pace. Even though it’s FP1, that is absolutely huge. Luca won’t be happy.

  3. AdrianMorse said on 9th September 2011, 10:42

    It looked like McLaren were running quite a lot of wing; hope that won’t throw them back in the race. Mercedes were quite disappointing. I did see them opening their DRS regularly, so I don’t think they were completely driving in race trim.

    • Harry Palmer said on 9th September 2011, 11:52

      They said on Autosport’s live feed that they were doing heavy fuel runs so I wouldn’t be overly concerned and it’s hard to read too much into FP1 as the teams are trying out different settings and fuel-loads etc (as well as the track being pretty green)

  4. High wing degree and DRS use during FP1 by Mc Laren?

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 9th September 2011, 10:50

      Or maybe they just have a lot of pace.

    • Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 9th September 2011, 11:43

      I think there’s a sweet spot to be had that will give an optimum overall lap time. Traditionally you run skinnier wings so you’re not a sitting duck and so you can overtake but DRS has nullified the latter this year and if your pace is good enough through the corners your straight-line speed deficit won’t be an issue. Smart thinking.

      • bosyber (@bosyber) said on 9th September 2011, 12:20

        Sort of the RBR philosophy, isn’t it? It worked for them for about three years at least; now Red Bull are getting caught a bit they are working to reduce their drag, but McLaren might have less of that too.

      • If you are ahead you can’t use DRS. If anything this year you are much more of a sitting duck.

  5. It is very early to be looking into it but Lewis does look like he is in good form, and the McLaren does look to be fast even though there has been speculation around their rear wing! I am very excited to see how the rest of the weekend unfolds.

  6. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 9th September 2011, 10:50

    It’s only FP1. I’m not getting carried away.

    Nice to see Petrov on the pace, though. I’ve noticed his best performances always seem come when he’s been switched on right from the start.

  7. The 107% rule will be interesting this weekend.

  8. I’ve never understood why Hamilton hasn’t had better results at Monza – it seems to be perfect for him, all low speed corners and braking zones, plus his McLaren usually has a decent straight line advantage. Maybe this year he can put things right – he’s overdue for a good result!

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 9th September 2011, 11:08

      Well he lost a chance of a result on the first lap last year – with the quicker McLaren in a straight line he’d’ve been in the hunt for victory. And he threw a podium away in 2009.

      He was flying in 2008 when the track was drying but he’d left himself with too much to do after qualifying. In 2007 Alonso beat him in a straight fight but he did put an excellent pass on Raikkonen.

      I think he’s due a result here and on the strength of what little we’ve seen so far he seems a very good tip.

      • Jake (@jleigh) said on 9th September 2011, 11:35

        Well said Keith, if you analyse his performances more closely, he’s actually shown good pace in Italy but has suffered both bad luck and bad decisions. If i remember correctly he was only a short shower away from winning in 08.

        • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 9th September 2011, 11:42

          he was only a short shower away from winning in 08

          You can’t blame the weather for not doing something you want it to and then say it cost you a win. The conditions are the same for everyone.

          • Jake (@jleigh) said on 9th September 2011, 11:56

            of course you’re right, I was merely pointing out that he had much better pace than the result (7th) showed and it was due to the weather that he wasn’t able to carry out his planned strategy (1 stop) where as those ahead could. Obviously that’s just the way it is and if he hadn’t mucked up qualifying he wouldn’t have had that problem so in no way am I saying he deserved a win, just answering the OP’s question as to why Lewis appears to have such a bad record at Monza.

          • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 9th September 2011, 11:59

            it was due to the weather that he wasn’t able to carry out his planned strategy

            No, you’ve got it back to front. He had the wrong strategy for the weather.

          • Jake (@jleigh) said on 9th September 2011, 12:07

            but of course no one knew that when the strategies were chosen, so there is very much an element of luck. Surely you can accept my general point that the result of 7th doesn’t tell the whole story of Lewis’ race in 08? which in some way goes towards answering the OP’s question about Lewis’ apparent poor record at a circuit that you would think should suit him.

      • Christian said on 9th September 2011, 12:05

        Never really got the ‘excellent’ pass on Raikkonen. Wasn’t it just a standard pass into the first chicane? Albeit, it was at the height of Hamiltonmania on ITV..

  9. David BR said on 9th September 2011, 11:10

    Wish Lewis would concentrate on his driving more.

  10. antonyob said on 9th September 2011, 11:27

    well top to tale its only 4.5% or so difference so 107% rule surely wont come anywhere near a worry.

    This is redbulls worst track and they are still miles better than ferrari. barring slew-ie lewis doing a lewis its his to lose already!

  11. antonyob said on 9th September 2011, 11:53

    tail – last placed driver

    the tracks green for everyone!

  12. Meander (@meander) said on 9th September 2011, 12:02

    Is HRT now faster than Virgin?!

  13. Smart move on the wings I think for the McLaren boys, Hamilton is “on it like a car bonnet” this weekend. A string of results he hadn’t hoped for and some rotten luck (or not depends of your standpoint).

    I think we could see something a bit special @Monza on Sunday :)The top 3 teams will surely provide an intense battle all weekend!

  14. Chandok was looking marginally quicker by the end than he usually does.

  15. kosmic said on 9th September 2011, 12:44

    Filippi in gp2 only just over a tenth behind the D’Ambrosio who whilst hit trouble still managed 22 laps , hmmmmmm

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