Hamilton fastest in opening Monza practice

Hamilton fastest in opening Monza practice

5 September 2014 – Lewis Hamilton set the standard during Friday's first practice session for the Italian Grand Prix at Monza, finishing comfortably ahead of McLaren's Jenson Button and Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg.

Hamilton, who was also fastest in opening practice 12 months ago, moved to the top of the timesheets with just over 20 minutes left on the clock, later lowering the benchmark to 1:26.187, six tenths up on Button.

Rosberg, the centre of attention after his apology for clashing with Hamilton as they battled for the lead at Spa-Francorchamps last time out, was almost two tenths of a second further back in third position.

Fernando Alonso was the last of the drivers to lap within a second of pace-setter Hamilton, trialling Ferrari's ultra-thin rear wing while team-mate Kimi Räikkönen, three tenths back in seventh, evaluated the larger option.

McLaren rookie Kevin Magnussen – who suffered early drama in the form of rear brake problems and his headrest working its way loose – wound up fifth, with reigning World Champion Sebastian Vettel sixth.

Force India's Sergio Pérez did well to place eighth after reserve driver Daniel Juncadella ran his car for the opening 30 minutes, the latter forcing a floor change which further delayed the Mexican's opening stint.

The top 10 places were completed by Toro Rosso's Daniil Kvyat and Pérez's team-mate, Nico Hülkenberg.

Hotly-tipped Williams duo Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa made a quiet start in 12th and 13th respectively.

In the second of the Red Bulls, Daniel Ricciardo endured a troublesome session en route to 16th; after enduring an issue with his DRS device, he was forced to bring his car back to the pits with a suspected ERS problem.

Having planned to change Ricciardo's engine at the end of the day, mechanics will now do so before FP2.

Of the opening session's four stand-in drivers, Sauber reserve Giedo van der Garde finished furthest up the order in 15th, four positions and three tenths of a second back on regular driver Esteban Gutiérrez.

The aforementioned Juncadella finished 17th, Pic classified 21st – behind fellow Lotus driver Pastor Maldonado and the two Marussias – and F1 debutant Roberto Merhi got the better of Marcus Ericsson at Caterham.

There were no major incidents during the 90-minute session, although plenty of drivers ran wide while getting to grips with their low-downforce setups, with the new tarmac run-off at Parabolica frequently used.

Friday afternoon's second practice session at Monza begins at 14:00 local time (GMT +2)

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