Lewis Hamilton has set the pace in this morning’s opening practice session for the Italian Grand Prix. The defending racewinner posted a 1:25.565 lap-time around the three-mile circuit, edging out crowd favourite Fernando Alonso by a scant three-hundredths of a second.
Despite the excellent weather conditions which greeted the field when the pit lane opened at 11:00am local time, the session began very slowly, with only the McLaren and Marussia drivers posting times in the first thirty minutes
The frontrunners eventually emerged from their slumber, with championship leader Sebastian Vettel moving to the top of the timesheets, before being usurped by Alonso, and then Hamilton.
A late flying lap from Nico Rosberg would prove enough to bump his compatriot Vettel into fourth place, while Kimi Räikkönen was fifth-quickest in his Lotus E21, which sported a longer wheelbase configuration.
The McLaren pairing of Sergio Pérez and Jenson Button were sixth and seventh respectively, with the latter placed under investigation by the FIA Stewards for his DRS being used in a prohibited zone of the circuit, a factor that the team blamed on a malfunction to the device.
Entering his final Grand Prix on European soil, Mark Webber was eighth-fastest in the sister Red Bull Racing entry, while Pastor Maldonado and Jean-Éric Vergne completed the top ten for Williams and Toro Rosso respectively.
Romain Grosjean (12th) and Felipe Massa (14th) both finished outside the top ten positions, with the latter lucky to avoid hitting the back of teammate Alonso at the end of the session. The Spaniard was attempting a routine practice start after the chequered flag had been waved, and it was a split-second reaction from his Brazilian teammate which prevented an accident between the pair.
Despite proving quickest through the speed trap, both Force India runners were also outside the top-ten. Paul di Resta was fifteenth-quickest, two spots ahead of the team’s newly-promoted reserve driver, James Calado, who had his first ever Friday practice outing, clocking up 24 trouble-free laps in Adrian Sutil’s regular car.
Aside from Massa’s near-miss with Alonso, the session featured little in the way of drama, although Nico Hülkenberg had his running in the Sauber limited by gearbox problems.
2013 Italian Formula 1 Grand Prix – Free Practice 1 Session Times:
|1.||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W04||1:25.565||24|
|2.||Fernando Alonso||Scuderia Ferrari F138||1:25.600||+ 0.035||25|
|3.||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W04||1:25.704||+ 0.139||25|
|4.||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing Renault RB9||1:25.753||+ 0.188||26|
|5.||Kimi Räikkönen||Lotus F1 Renault E21||1:25.941||+ 0.376||22|
|6.||Sergio Pérez||McLaren Mercedes MP4-28||1:26.007||+ 0.442||24|
|7.||Jenson Button||McLaren Mercedes MP4-28||1:26.035||+ 0.470||23|
|8.||Mark Webber||Red Bull Racing Renault RB9||1:26.103||+ 0.538||27|
|9.||Pastor Maldonado||Williams Renault FW35||1:26.149||+ 0.584||22|
|10.||Jean-Éric Vergne||Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR8||1:26.155||+ 0.590||25|
|11.||Esteban Gutiérrez||Sauber Ferrari C32||1:26.194||+ 0.629||25|
|12.||Romain Grosjean||Lotus F1 Renault E21||1:26.295||+ 0.730||23|
|13.||Daniel Ricciardo||Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR8||1:26.387||+ 0.822||21|
|14.||Felipe Massa||Scuderia Ferrari F138||1:26.449||+ 0.884||16|
|15.||Paul di Resta||Force India Mercedes VJM06||1:26.594||+ 1.029||13|
|16.||Valtteri Bottas||Williams Renault FW35||1:26.802||+ 1.237||21|
|17.||James Calado||Force India Mercedes VJM06||1:27.041||+ 1.476||24|
|18.||Nico Hülkenberg||Sauber Ferrari C32||1:27.224||+ 1.659||16|
|19.||Charles Pic||Caterham Renault CT03||1:27.818||+ 2.253||24|
|20.||Max Chilton||Marussia Cosworth MR02||1:27.869||+ 2.304||20|
|21.||Heikki Kovalainen||Caterham Renault CT03||1:28.192||+ 2.627||21|
|22.||Rodolfo Gonzalez||Marussia Cosworth MR02||1:29.526||+ 3.961||26|