10 Sep 2011

Hamilton quickest in Italian Grand Prix practice

12:15 pm on 10 September 2011

McLaren's Lewis Hamilton put controversy behind him to lap the fastest in Italian Grand Prix practice.

The 2008 Formula One champion, who faced strong criticism after crashing out of the previous race in Belgium, roared around the fastest track on the calendar with a best time of one minute 23.865 seconds in the morning session.

Red Bull's reigning champion Sebastian Vettel, who has a 92-point lead after 12 of the 19 races, was quickest in the afternoon in 1:24.010 with Hamilton second and a mere 0.036 slower.

Hamilton's team mate Jenson Button, the 2009 champion for Brawn, was second and seventh respectively in the two sessions.

Champions Red Bull looked as competitive as ever, despite describing the track as their weakest, with Australian Mark Webber fourth in the morning behind Vettel and sixth after lunch.

Red Bull have never finished on the Monza podium, although Vettel won with sister team Toro Rosso in 2008.

With the battle lines seemingly drawn between McLaren and Red Bull, Ferrari made a slow start to the last practice of the European season but ended the afternoon on a stronger note.

Brazilian Felipe Massa was fourth while team mate Fernando Alonso, who delighted the home fans with a win from pole last year, was fifth.