Hamilton dominates first Monza practice

McLaren started the Italian Grand Prix weekend in dominant fashion as Lewis Hamilton and Heikki Kovalainen took a one-two in Friday morning practice at Monza

Hamilton dominates first Monza practice

But it was not an entirely serene morning for the world champion - his McLaren's fuel flap fell off on his first run and he had a few heavy trips over kerbs and across chicane escape roads.

None of these problems affected Hamilton's pace, as he hit the front with his first flying lap and remained there for the duration, chipping away at his own times until he reached 1m23.936s. Kovalainen was 0.4s adrift in second.

Force India ended up being McLaren's closest challenger. Adrian Sutil hinted that the team could continue its Spa form even without Belgian GP hero Giancarlo Fisichella as he remained in the top pack all morning and took third, half a second off the pace.

Fernando Alonso and his now KERS-shod Renault claimed fourth, ahead of another strong run from Nick Heidfeld's BMW.

Sebastien Buemi gave last year's race winner Toro Rosso a surprise sixth place, just in front of championship leader Jenson Button, who was five places ahead of team-mate Rubens Barrichello.

While Brawn did not threaten the top of the times, neither did its title rival Red Bull. Mark Webber was ninth quickest, and his team-mate Sebastian Vettel sat out all bar the final quarter of an hour as he conserved his engine to avoid risking another failure and consequent grid penalty. The German eventually managed enough laps to take 18th.

Fisichella started his Ferrari career in promising style by taking eighth, two places and 0.1s in front of team-mate Kimi Raikkonen. The result was slightly deceptive though, for the Italian had switched to soft tyres for his last runs while the majority stayed on hard rubber all morning.

Until that tyre change, Fisichella had been slowest of all for much of the session as he got to grips with the car.

His Force India replacement Tonio Liuzzi initially fared better, outpacing Fisichella's Ferrari until the final runs. The returnee eventually ended the morning in 16th.

Unsurprisingly, various drivers explored the run-off areas at the chicanes as they acclimatised to the 2009 cars in ultra low downforce trim. Toyota's Timo Glock had the only incident of real note, spinning and bouncing heavily over the fierce new kerbs at the first chicane. That left him slowest of all, although his team-mate Jarno Trulli was only 0.3s faster and one place ahead.

Pos Driver Team Time Laps 1. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes (B) 1:23.936 26 2. Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes (B) 1:24.332 + 0.396 27 3. Sutil Force India-Mercedes (B) 1:24.471 + 0.535 24 4. Alonso Renault (B) 1:24.477 + 0.541 21 5. Heidfeld BMW-Sauber (B) 1:24.683 + 0.747 25 6. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari (B) 1:24.703 + 0.767 35 7. Button Brawn-Mercedes (B) 1:24.706 + 0.770 21 8. Fisichella Ferrari (B) 1:24.732 + 0.796 24 9. Webber Red Bull-Renault (B) 1:24.759 + 0.823 19 10. Raikkonen Ferrari (B) 1:24.761 + 0.825 26 11. Kubica BMW-Sauber (B) 1:24.813 + 0.877 20 12. Barrichello Brawn-Mercedes (B) 1:24.826 + 0.890 24 13. Rosberg Williams-Toyota (B) 1:24.927 + 0.991 29 14. Nakajima Williams-Toyota (B) 1:25.150 + 1.214 28 15. Grosjean Renault (B) 1:25.612 + 1.676 18 16. Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes (B) 1:25.689 + 1.753 29 17. Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari (B) 1:25.742 + 1.806 30 18. Vettel Red Bull-Renault (B) 1:25.951 + 2.015 8 19. Trulli Toyota (B) 1:26.020 + 2.084 23 20. Glock Toyota (B) 1:26.325 + 2.389 17 All Timing Unofficial 

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