Lewis Hamilton has firmed as a favourite to claim pole position for this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix, backing up yesterday’s fastest practice time by going quickest again in the third and final practice session at Monza.
The McLaren driver beat tifosi crowd favourite Fernando Alonso to top spot by the scarcest of margins: just one-thousandth of a second!
The Ferrari team enjoyed another competitive showing, with Felipe Massa ending the session fourth-quickest as the scarlet cars sandwiched the impressive Paul di Resta on the timesheets. Sadly for the Scot, his hopes of a career-best starting position will take a dent with news that the Force India driver will take a five-place grid penalty as a result of an unscheduled change to his gearbox needing to be made overnight.
Force India wasn’t the only outfit to endure mechanical dramas, either overnight of this morning. The Mercedes team was forced to apply to break the overnight curfew so its mechanics could perform emergency repairs to Michael Schumacher’s DRS, only for the German to then suffer a KERS failure in his hastily-repaired W03 – the seven-time World Champion finished just fourteenth-fastest in the session.
The worried faces extended to the Red Bull Racing garage as well, with defending race-winner Sebastian Vettel being forced to park his car in the dying minutes of the session with an apparent electrical failure. Team-mate Mark Webber had to contend with his own KERS gremlins in what was a troublesome one-hour session for the Milton Keynes squad.
Behind the leading quartet, last weekend’s race-winner Jenson Button was fifth-fastest despite complaining of low-speed grip issues. The Englishman finished ahead of Nico Rosberg, Sergio Pérez, Kimi Räikkönen, Nico Hülkenberg, and Pastor Maldonado.
Qualifying gets underway at 14:00 CET today.
2012 Italian Formula 1 Grand Prix – Free Practice 3 Session Times:
|1.||Lewis Hamilton||McLaren Mercedes MP4-27||1:24.578||18|
|2.||Fernando Alonso||Scuderia Ferrari F2012||1:24.579||+ 0.001||15|
|3.||Paul di Resta||Force India Mercedes VJM05||1:24.849||+ 0.271||20|
|4.||Felipe Massa||Scuderia Ferrari F2012||1:24.909||+ 0.331||16|
|5.||Jenson Button||McLaren Mercedes MP4-27||1:24.994||+ 0.416||17|
|6.||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes AMG F1 W03||1:25.036||+ 0.458||22|
|7.||Sergio Pérez||Sauber Ferrari C31||1:25.160||+ 0.582||23|
|8.||Kimi Räikkönen||Lotus F1 Renault E20||1:25.255||+ 0.677||19|
|9.||Nico Hülkenberg||Force India Mercedes VJM05||1:25.289||+ 0.711||20|
|10.||Pastor Maldonado||Williams Renault FW34||1:25.383||+ 0.805||18|
|11.||Mark Webber||Red Bull Racing Renault RB8||1:25.389||+ 0.811||21|
|12.||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing Renault RB8||1:25.406||+ 0.828||17|
|13.||Bruno Senna||Williams Renault FW34||1:25.461||+ 0.883||21|
|14.||Michael Schumacher||Mercedes AMG F1 W03||1:25.563||+ 0.985||23|
|15.||Kamui Kobayashi||Sauber Ferrari C31||1:25.689||+ 1.111||22|
|16.||Daniel Ricciardo||Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR7||1:25.706||+ 1.128||16|
|17.||Jérôme d’Ambrosio||Lotus F1 Renault E20||1:25.973||+ 1.395||20|
|18.||Jean-Éric Vergne||Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR7||1:26.003||+ 1.425||19|
|19.||Heikki Kovalainen||Caterham Renault CT01||1:26.657||+ 2.079||18|
|20.||Vitaly Petrov||Caterham Renault CT01||1:27.267||+ 2.689||16|
|21.||Charles Pic||Marussia Racing Cosworth MR01||1:27.454||+ 2.876||20|
|22.||Timo Glock||Marussia Racing Cosworth MR01||1:27.728||+ 3.150||19|
|23.||Narain Karthikeyan||HRTF1 Cosworth F112||1:28.035||+ 3.457||23|
|24.||Pedro de la Rosa||HRTF1 Cosworth F112||1:28.384||+ 3.806||17|