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Hamilton ends Monza test on top

Lewis Hamilton during testing at MonzaLewis Hamilton finished on top of the timesheets on the final day of testing at the Monza circuit in Italy.

The championship leader took over from teammate Heikki Kovalainen to wrap up McLaren's preparations for the Italian Grand Prix, setting a best time of 1:22.967 after 97 laps.

Hamilton's time was some three tenths of a second slower than that set by Nick Heidfeld on Thursday, but the Briton was the only driver who managed to complete a lap in 1:22s today.

World champion Kimi Raikkonen was second fastest for Ferrari, albeit nearly four tenths behind Hamilton.

"It was a good day, during which we looked to fine tune the car for this track as well as trying a few new things," said Raikkonen, who met with Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo during the test. "I would say we have done a good job, even if it is too early to say what the situation will be here during the race weekend.

"It was a pleasure to meet with President Montezemolo, who visited the track today. Now we have to try and do everything as well as possible to get back to winning again, starting with the race in Spa. The world championship? I will give it my best shot and then we can count the points at the end."

Italian Giancarlo Fisichella completed a positive test for Force India with a surprising third quickest time after a massive 114 laps.

Kazuki Nakajima in the Williams and David Coulthard in the Red Bull completed the top five. The Scot was the busiest man on track today, covering 120 laps.

Fernando Alonso was sixth fastest for Renault, who also focused on race preparation for the Italian Grand Prix in two weeks' time.

"Another valuable day in Monza and we have learnt some interesting things that will help us prepare for the race here in a couple of weeks' time," said Alonso.

"We tried lots of different things with the set-up and then did some suspension work in the afternoon as using the curbs is important here. I think we have taken the car in the right direction and we have a good basis to build on over the race weekend."

BMW Sauber's Robert Kubica, in contrast, only managed 57 laps after going off the track in the morning. Only his BMW Sauber car sustained little damage, repairing was time consuming and he could only return to the track after the lunch break.

Today's times:

Pos  Driver        Team                     Time     Laps
 1.  Hamilton      McLaren-Mercedes    (B)  1:22.967   97
 2.  Raikkonen     Ferrari             (B)  1:23.371   79
 3.  Fisichella    Force India-Ferrari (B)  1:23.632  114
 4.  Nakajima      Williams-Toyota     (B)  1:23.634   99
 5.  Coulthard     Red Bull-Renault    (B)  1:23.737  120
 6.  Alonso        Renault             (B)  1:23.820   80
 7.  Bourdais      Toro Rosso-Ferrari  (B)  1:23.865   77
 8.  Glock         Toyota              (B)  1:23.897   79
 9.  Kubica        BMW-Sauber          (B)  1:24.089   57
10.  Button        Honda               (B)  1:24.321   96

All Timing Unofficial
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