Hamilton leads Alonso by tiny margin at Monza

2012 Italian Grand Prix third practice

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Monza, 2012Lewis Hamilton stayed on top in the final practice session at Monza.

But the gap between him and Fernando Alonso was a mere one thousandth of a second.

McLaren led the way to begin with in the session, Hamilton setting a 1’24.687 to eclipse the quickest time seen on Friday – which he also set – by six tenths of a second. Jenson Button backed him up in second, half a second off his team mate’s time.

Following their installation laps the Ferrari drivers stayed in the pits until halfway through the session. Alonso moved up to second-quickest when he joined the track, then edged Hamilton’s time by 0.055s after using the slipstream from his team mate on the run from Lesmo 2 to Ascari.

As was the case yesterday drivers made only small improvements after switching to the medium tyres. Alonso found five-hundredths of a second to increase his margin at the top of the times.

But Hamilton edged the Ferrari by one-thousandth of a second to take the fastest time back.

Paul di Resta put his Force India third on the timing sheets. He was followed by the second Ferrari of Massa, who lost some time with a mistake at Parabolica on his quickest lap.

Several drivers had KERS problems during the session: Michael Schumacher lost his entirely early on, Kimi Raikkonen was told “no KERS” as well and Mark Webber reported a loss of KERS during one of his laps.

The other Red Bull had problems too – Sebastian Vettel came to a stop at the Roggia chicane two minutes before the end of the session, reporting a battery problem.

Pos. No. Driver Car Best lap Gap Laps
1 4 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1’24.578 18
2 5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’24.579 0.001 15
3 11 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1’24.849 0.271 20
4 6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’24.909 0.331 16
5 3 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’24.994 0.416 17
6 8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’25.036 0.458 22
7 15 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1’25.160 0.582 23
8 9 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1’25.255 0.677 19
9 12 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1’25.289 0.711 20
10 18 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1’25.383 0.805 18
11 2 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’25.389 0.811 21
12 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’25.406 0.828 17
13 19 Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 1’25.461 0.883 21
14 7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’25.563 0.985 23
15 14 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1’25.689 1.111 22
16 16 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’25.706 1.128 16
17 10 Jerome D’Ambrosio Lotus-Renault 1’25.973 1.395 20
18 17 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’26.003 1.425 19
19 20 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1’26.657 2.079 18
20 21 Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1’27.267 2.689 16
21 25 Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1’27.454 2.876 20
22 24 Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1’27.728 3.150 19
23 23 Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1’28.035 3.457 23
24 22 Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1’28.384 3.806 17

Combined practice times

Pos Driver Car FP1 FP2 FP3 Fri/Sat diff Total laps
1 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1’25.944 1’25.290 1’24.578 -0.712 18
2 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’25.800 1’25.348 1’24.579 -0.769 15
3 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1’25.548 1’24.849 -0.699 20
4 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’25.881 1’25.430 1’24.909 -0.521 16
5 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’25.723 1’25.328 1’24.994 -0.334 17
6 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’25.762 1’25.446 1’25.036 -0.41 22
7 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1’26.323 1’26.068 1’25.160 -0.908 23
8 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1’26.046 1’25.504 1’25.255 -0.249 19
9 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1’26.518 1’25.547 1’25.289 -0.258 20
10 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1’26.504 1’26.404 1’25.383 -1.021 18
11 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’26.390 1’26.104 1’25.389 -0.715 21
12 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’26.508 1’26.394 1’25.406 -0.988 17
13 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’25.422 1’26.094 1’25.563 +0.141 23
14 Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 1’26.783 1’25.461 -1.322 21
15 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1’26.746 1’26.730 1’25.689 -1.041 22
16 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’27.373 1’26.724 1’25.706 -1.018 16
17 Jerome D’Ambrosio Lotus-Renault 1’27.180 1’26.157 1’25.973 -0.184 20
18 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’27.789 1’26.864 1’26.003 -0.861 19
19 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1’26.641 0
20 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1’27.855 1’26.841 1’26.657 -0.184 18
21 Jules Bianchi Force India-Mercedes 1’27.192 0
22 Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1’28.578 1’27.222 1’27.267 +0.045 16
23 Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1’28.751 1’27.968 1’27.454 -0.514 20
24 Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1’29.207 1’27.944 1’27.728 -0.216 19
25 Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1’28.779 1’28.035 -0.744 23
26 Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1’29.331 1’28.575 1’28.384 -0.191 17
27 Ma Qing Hua HRT-Cosworth 1’31.239 0

2012 Italian Grand Prix

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26 comments on Hamilton leads Alonso by tiny margin at Monza

  1. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 8th September 2012, 11:11

    I’d say this weekend is going to be crucial to the championship. Both Alonso and the McLarens look strong, while Red Bull is noticeably off the pace. Button and Hamilton absolutely need to finish ahead of Alonso – and they probably need him to have a poor race, as well – if they want to have any chance of reeling him in during the final flyaway races.

  2. Nikhil said on 8th September 2012, 11:13

    force india seems to be quick here,,,,, i diresta was not on penalty,,,, i beleive he would have scored more points

  3. lotus and red bull appear to be struggling on single lap pace, wouldnt be suprised if the qualy 3 is full of mercedes powered cars but they are probably better on race pace
    tipping hamilton for pole and win

  4. Eggry (@eggry) said on 8th September 2012, 11:17

    It’s so tight! I don’t really who would be the pole. Just a tiny mistake will be very crucial.

  5. xeroxpt (@) said on 8th September 2012, 11:22

    Yesterday, i thought that qualli was going to be great and the race boring, now i think both will be boring, off course at the top end, the choice of tyres for this last 2 rounds may be the crucial factor here, or it’s just the nature of the track, we will know the answer after this weekend, unique track and those harder not so flattering tyres.

  6. pirelli should have brought the soft and the hard, not medium and hard that would have made it a two stop race!!!

  7. Mclaren looks strong and it looks like Hamilton is set for a good grix position and a strong race. If it happens, that might give him an extra edge in the negotiations with Mclaren. we shall see!

  8. electrolite (@electrolite) said on 8th September 2012, 11:50

    I can see Alonso using Massa as a slipstream in qualification, too. Of course, the McLarens won’t be doing that anytime soon!

  9. Master firelee (@master-firelee) said on 8th September 2012, 11:53

    Massa’s looking more on the pace this weekend.

  10. Atticus (@atticus-2) said on 8th September 2012, 11:55

    It really should have been ‘the tiniest margin’. Rarely we see a 0.001 difference between the first and the second.

    Actually, Ferrari could pull this ‘tactics’ off during Q3 as well – using Massa at some point of the track to have Alonso slipstream him. The field is so close that this could well make the difference. Neither McLaren, nor Red Bull can afford this.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 8th September 2012, 12:21

      @atticus-2 Well we’ve had three drivers set identical pole position times to within a thousandth of a second before, so it wouldn’t actually be true!

      In IndyCar they publish times to ten-thousandths of a second. F1 teams are measured that accurately but we only ever see the times to a thousandths.

      • Atticus (@atticus-2) said on 8th September 2012, 12:27

        Yeah, I remember Villeneuve, Schumacher and Frentzen’s 1:21-something in Jerez. On a season finale. It was frantic. But rare – did we have two drivers setting identical pole or practice times since then?

        In any case, I didn’t know times in F1 are measured to ten-thousends of a second, thanks for the info. My obvious next question is does it determine the order now, only we do not get to see the times, or is it still the old rule of who sets it first? I believe it’s the latter, but then why not the former, if we have the technology?

  11. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 8th September 2012, 12:00

    The top 14 covered by 1s, full Monza mode this weekend for everyone! Karthikeyan finished above De La Rosa, wonder what that is all about, thought De La Rosa had the skinny wing?

  12. Pedro Costa (@pnunocosta) said on 8th September 2012, 12:42

    What´s the matter with Pirelli, are they on the Bridgestone path?! They have to be more agressive, they have to react to the teams better understanding of their tyres. Pretty bad sign when apparently everybody will manage a 1 stop race.
    Qualifying will be interesting and a few surprises may arise, concerning to the race it will be dull and with a huge lack of uncertainty.

  13. caci99 (@caci99) said on 8th September 2012, 13:05

    The fastest time of Alonso was set on medium tyres and he didn’t use his team mate slipstream.

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