Free Practice 1
A bright and sunny morning at Monza welcomed the final European weekend of the season – it also saw the introduction of updates on several cars, specifically for the fast Italian track.
McLaren brought two rear winds; one with large Spa-Francorchamps settings connecting to their F-Duct and another rear wing with smaller elements. The British team also installed a sturdier undertray to pass new FIA tests. Renault also delivered two types of rear wing as they continue to test their new F-Duct system. Most teams are, as expected, running smaller rear wing elements for pre straight-line speed.
Rubens Barrichello wasn’t caught out by the kerbs, but was sidelined half way through first practice with an input-shaft failure, a problem that also affected the early session for both Lotus entries. A brake fluid leak had Bruno Senna’s Hispania parked for much of the opening practice – Senna eventually made it out, before pulling off circuit with yet another car-related problem.
Paul di Resta took to Adrian Sutil’s Force India during the morning session and eventually set the 12th best time in the presence of cousin and IndyCar runner, Dario Franchitti.
Michael Schumacher posted the fastest time in early part of the session, but he was later displaced by the McLaren’s – first by Lewis Hamilton and later reigning Champion Jenson Button. The McLaren’s sandwiched Sebastian Vettel in his Red Bull – the top three headed Robert Kubica (Renault), Nico Rosberg (Mercedes) and Mark Webber (Red Bull), with Schumacher eventually coming away with the 10th fastest time.
Free Practice 2
Hamilton had the F-Duct removed and is going for a low-downforce, while Button held onto the high downforce settings – following a minor tweaks, Hamilton secured the 4th best time, just ahead of team mate Jenson Button. An hour into the session, Hamilton picked up damage to his right front wing end plate as the 2008 Champion hopped over a kerb, finishing his run early on.
Michael Schumacher found himself running quick early in the session – a little too quick perhaps; the 7-times World Champion was carrying far too much speed through the Parabolica, sliding into the gravel trap. Schumacher took a disappointing 14th fastest.
Felipe Massa ran wide at the Parabolica in far more dramatic fashion during a quick run – he was heading for the crash barrier, when a marvellous save by the Brazilian kept him out of harms way. Moments later, Alonso put in his fastest lap – good enough for 2nd on the sheets, while Massa (3rd) coasted the short distance to the pitlane.
Red Bull were not expected to run right at the top, but Vettel got in the way of that expectation by setting the fastest time of the day. Fellow Red Bull man Webber (6th) didn’t have as good a day as he pulled off the track at the first Lesmo with 20 minutes remaining – a loss of water pressure ending his Friday prematurely.
In the sister team, Toro Rosso’s Jaime Alguersuari also stopped out on track with a mechanical failure at a Variante della Roggia chicane. He claimed the 18th best time.
The Williams’ had a good afternoon run after morning difficulties with Barrichello leading Nico Hulkenberg in 7th and 9th places respectively, sandwiching Robert Kubica.
Bruno Senna had further problems with fuel pressure at the very beginning of the session – his car only got to the end of the pitlane exit, before grinding to a halt. The Brazilian rookie eventually got back out during the session, however his Hispania stopped with more problems after only a couple of laps. He took the Hispania out again a short while later, but the car broke again – Senna set no time. Sakon Yamamoto in the second Hispania, had his running cut short by a gearbox problem – his was last in both sessions.
Italy, 2nd Free Practice (September 10th)
1 VETTEL Red Bull 1m22.839s
2 ALONSO Ferrari 1m22.915s
3 MASSA Ferrari 1m23.061s
4 HAMILTON McLaren 1m23.154s
5 BUTTON McLaren 1m23.210s
6 WEBBER Red Bull 1m23.415s
7 BARRICHELLO McLaren 1m23.708s
8 KUBICA Renault 1m23.709s
9 HULKENBERG Williams 1m23.852s
10 ROSBERG Mercedes 1m23.857s
11 SUTIL Force India 1m24.181s
12 LIUZZI Force India 1m24.380s
13 PETROV Renault 1m24.407s
14 SCHUMACHER Mercedes 1m24.448s
15 BUEMI Toro Rosso 1m24.517s
16 DE LA ROSA Sauber 1m24.547s
17 KOBAYASHI Sauber 1m24.785s
18 ALGUERSUARI Toro Rosso 1m25.106s
19 TRULLI Lotus 1m26.204s
20 KOVALAINEN Lotus 1m26.306s
21 DI GRASSI Virgin 1m26.631s
22 GLOCK Virgin 1m26.676s
23 YAMAMOTO HRT 1m29.498s
24 SENNA HRT no time
Italy, 1st Free Practice (September 10th)
1 BUTTON McLaren 1m23.693s
2 VETTEL Red Bull 1m23.790s
3 HAMILTON McLaren 1m23.967s
4 KUBICA Renault 1m24.120s
5 ROSBERG Mercedes 1m24.129s
6 WEBBER Red Bull 1m24.446s
7 LIUZZI Force India 1m24.512s
8 ALONSO Ferrari 1m24.543s
9 MASSA Ferrari 1m24.648s
10 SCHUMACHER Mercedes 1m24.756s
11 HULKENBERG Williams 1m24.841s
12 DI RESTA Force India 1m24.923s
13 PETROV Renault 1m25.292s
14 BUEMI Toro Rosso 1m25.318s
15 DE LA ROSA Sauber 1m25.320s
16 KOBAYASHI Sauber 1m25.334s
17 ALGUERSUARI Toro Rosso 1m25.897s
18 GLOCK Virgin 1m26.772s
19 TRULLI Lotus 1m26.898s
20 DI GRASSI Virgin 1m26.956s
21 KOVALAINEN Lotus 1m27.374s
22 SENNA HRT 1m28.256s
23 BARRICHELLO Williams 1m28.516s
24 YAMAMOTO HRT 1m29.870s