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Rediff.com  » Sports » Lewis Hamilton fastest in Monza practice

Lewis Hamilton fastest in Monza practice

September 02, 2016 20:47 IST

IMAGE: Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes. Photograph: Clive Rose/Getty Images.

Formula One leader Lewis Hamilton ousted Mercedes team mate Nico Rosberg from the top of the timesheets in Italian Grand Prix free practice on Friday.

The Briton, chasing his 50th grand prix win on Sunday, enjoyed a sunny afternoon at the Monza circuit with a fastest lap of one minute 22.801 seconds on the supersoft tyres after being second to Rosberg in the morning.

Rosberg quickest effort then was a 1:22.959, with the German lapping in 1:22.994 after lunch.

Ferrari were best of the rest in both sessions at their home track with Finland's Kimi Raikkonen third in the morning, but more than a second off Rosberg's pace, while team mate Sebastian Vettel was fourth.

Like the Mercedes pair, their positions were reversed in the afternoon with Vettel using the supersoft tyres to post a lap 0.453 slower than Hamilton.

The Italian team have used the last of their season's engine 'tokens' for a power boost at the track outside Milan after ceding second place in the championship to Red Bull.

Hamilton leads Rosberg by nine points going into the last European race of the season but the triple world champion can hope to extend that on Sunday.

The Briton is chasing his third successive Italian Grand Prix win, a feat that has not been achieved since the late Argentine Juan Manuel Fangio in the 1950s.

Rosberg, winner in Belgium last weekend, set his best lap of the morning on the soft tyres as did Hamilton, who was one of several drivers to have off-track excursions as they probed the limits.

McLaren's Fernando Alonso provided the only real incident of the first session when he crawled back to the pits with a gearbox problem five minutes from the end.

Dutch teenager Max Verstappen, whose aggressive defending against Raikkonen at Spa last weekend is still the talk of the paddock, was eighth for Red Bull in the morning and fifth in the second session.

Verstappen and McLaren's Jenson Button started the day testing a version of the 'halo' head protection device attached to the cockpits of their cars.

Source:
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