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Page last updated at 13:52 GMT, Friday, 9 September 2011 14:52 UK

Italian Grand Prix practice as it happened


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By Tom Rostance

1450: Well that's all from me for today. You can join us for full commentary of tomorrow's action right here from 0930 BST. You'll be up, right?

Text in your views on 81111 (UK)
Nick from Glasgow on text via 81111: "I'm sorry, but i'd rate Jenson over Lewis at any time. Both of them at McLaren is good for all 3 of them. JB leaving for someone else? If so who?"

1440: Slightly better from Ferrari in that session then, but I doubt it will be enough to please the boss Luca di Montezemolo when he arrives tomorrow. Could be a busy evening in the garage for the mechanics, they need to find a lot of time to challenge for the win.

BBC Radio 5 Live
Maurice Hamilton on 5 live sports extra: "For Red Bull, this is a surprising performance. They have been playing down their chances coming into this race, but they look strong once again. Ferrari would expect to be giving them a harder time than this."

1435: For a circuit which supposedly does not favour the Red Bulls, that was ominous stuff from Vettel. Can anyone stop him recording a 10th pole position of the season tomorrow?

1433: So Vettel heads Lewis Hamilton, Michael Schumacher, Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso.

1432: Kamui Kobayashi ends the session on the side of the track, looks like a mechanical problem for the Sauber.

Chequered flag

1427: The drivers are settling into some laps at full race simulation now, with Vettel lapping in the late 1:26s.

Text in your views on 81111 (UK)
Two separate (and anonymous) texts on 81111: First up... "It would do McLaren no harm for Jenson to leave - he is not as good as Hamilton, but good enough to take points away from him on occasions. This will cost McLaren future titles if they do not follow Ferrari and Red Bull with a clear No. 1 driver." Secondly... "If not JB at McLaren, then who? I'm not sure there is anyone more appealing to them, save perhaps Di Resta."

1423: As he puts contract talks to the back of his mind, Jenson Button is down in seventh in his McLaren. Puzzling lack of pace after his decent showing this morning. It seems neither McLaren is using DRS at the moment though.

1418: Lewis Hamilton complains of clutch problems on his team radio but still stays out there. He's easily overtaken by Mark Webber down the pit straight though as we enter the final 10 minutes.

Maurice Hamilton on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra: "Nobody knows their way around here better than Michael Schumacher. I don't think it's an accident, how wide he's running on Ascari."

1416: As Chris Barton tweets that Fernando Alonso's Ferrari "looks like a rasher of bacon on a greasy plate", team-mate Felipe Massa gets into the groove as he slides his car out of the second Lesmo turn. Rear wheels in the gravel seems the way to go today.

1414: Michael Schumacher is still in third spot. With five wins at Monza he certainly knows his way around the place, and he uses every inch available as he rides roughly over the kerbs there. Looks - and sounds - mightily uncomfortable.

Matthew Liggins on Twitter: "#bbcf1 I would like to see JB have a season in a McLaren that's competitive all season. Failing that one should keep an eye on Massa's drive."

1405: Lewis Hamilton's lap is compromised as he has to lift off to avoid a collision with Jaime Alguersuari, and Sebastian Vettel takes advantage to go quickest.

Text in your views on 81111 (UK)
AH texts on 81111: "McLaren would be nuts to let JB go; Lewis for all his talent, doesn't appear 100% focused on F1, and the Woking team need a top line driver to push development and set up the car. Would they be as high as they are with the MP4-26 this year without him? I doubt it..."

1357: Lewis Hamilton ventures out onto the track with a lower fuel load and soft tyres. The 2008 world champion makes the most of a clear track to boot his McLaren up to the top with a lap of 1:24.046

BBC Radio 5 Live
HRT driver Daniel Ricciardo, having completed just two practice laps, tells BBC Radio 5 live sports extra: "Morale [in the team] is getting there. Little glitches don't help, but hopefully things will go better tomorrow."

1352: Blast from the past as Michael Schumacher posts the fastest lap at Monza. Schumacher hurls his Mercedes around in a time of 1:24.347 - over two seconds quicker than he managed this morning.

1350: David Croft and Maurice Hamilton are discussing Jenson Button's contract with McLaren on 5 live. What do you think, is it a foregone conclusion that Button will sign on for another year with McLaren? Let us know.

Maurice Hamilton on 5 live sports extra: "Mercedes are hoping to continue the momentum they garnered at Spa with magnificent straight-line speed. They are continuing their battle with Renault for fourth spot, but any lack of running here on this one-off circuit is going to hurt them really badly."

Text in your views on 81111 (UK)
Anonymous texts on 81111: "DRS in Spa made overtaking too easy, as in too many races this season, Pirelli should have left the compounds alone from the start of the season, with no DRS this would have provided the exciting racing we crave with none of the artificial push to pass overtakes we have been subjected too. Get rid of DRS!"

1341: Lewis Hamilton picks up the pace as he moves up from seventh to second. Maurice Hamilton on 5 live is expecting a serious improvement in pace once the drivers switch to the softer tyre shortly though.

1335: Better from Ferrari so far then, as we expected. Well timed by the drivers as well, as Luca di Montezemolo - chairman of Ferrari - is expected to make his annual trip to Monza for qualifying tomorrow.

1332: Less than an hour of practice now remains. Sebastian Vettel, Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa your top three at the moment.

BBC F1 pit-lane reporter Lee McKenzie: "Bruno Senna was telling me how he feared he may be left on the F1 sidelines after his contract with Hispania ended last season and that he had been looking at other race series as alternative options. He said luckily, though, the man who remembered his talents from GP2 was Eric Boullier, who has given him this chance to prove his worth at his Renault team. Senna added that he remembers watching his late uncle Ayrton Senna at Monza and hopes he could be half as precise as he was. Bruno's hoping to put behind him his Turn One drama from Spa - where he clashed with Jaime Alguersuari and lost ground - and do well at this iconic track."

BBC Radio 5 Live
Maurice Hamilton on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra: "Blisters per se are not what's wrong. It's blisters where the tread meets the shoulder of the tyre. That's what causes the problem."

1327: Hairy moment at the Ascari chicane as Bruno Senna gets his Renault all crossed up on the exit. Recovered it well and is currently eighth quickest.

BBC F1 pit-lane reporter Lee McKenzie: "I sat down with Jenson Button, who was in great form yesterday, to discuss his season so far and plans for the future. He has had a busy time since Spa, where he finished third after starting 13th on the grid. First up for the 2009 champion was a run through the centre of Manchester in his McLaren, then appearing on a TV gameshow and finally opening his own restaurant in Harrogate. As for his day job, Button was saying that he has not yet signed on the dotted line to stay at McLaren next season and when asked why he only replied: 'Ask [team boss] Martin Whitmarsh.' We will wait and see but he is very keen to stay with the team."

1321: Fernando Alonso is on it. Puts his Ferrari second fastest before going wide out of a chicane and getting all out of shape, dragging a tyre across the gravel. No harm done for the Spaniard though.

Tom on Twitter: "#BBCF1 - Gravel traps at Parabolica look useless, see Schumacher in FP1 and now Buemi in FP2."

1315: The Red Bulls hit the front after quarter of an hour, Mark Webber topping the timesheets for a matter of seconds before Sebastian Vettel goes ahead of him with a lap of one minute 25.635 seconds. Not up to Hamilton's pace from this morning just yet.

BBC F1 pit-lane reporter Ted Kravitz: "There is some confusion here at Monza as to what Pirelli's maximum recommended camber (inward lean) for front tyres will be - and as to whether it will be enforced as a rule by the FIA. This has become a big issue following Red Bull's controversial decision to exceed the limit at the last race in Belgium, which caused concerns their tyres might fail. Monza is a track where this is a big issue as a result of the high speeds. Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery says he will adopt a watching brief and if he is concerned the teams are 'flouting' the recommendation, 'we will reserve judgement about contacting the FIA' - ie asking for the recommendation to become a de facto regulation. I'll get back to you on the maximum limit - some say it's 3.25 degree, some 3.5."

Someone is out
1309: Moment of madness for Toro Rosso driver Sebastien Buemi as he flies off at the Parabolica, clipping the tyre barrier before coming safely to a stop. He helpfully tells team radio that "the car is broken."

1307: Lewis Hamilton starts his first flying lap, casually fiddling with the buttons on his steering wheel as he hares down the straight at over 200mph. Don't try that at home.

Text in your views on 81111 (UK)
Nathan on text via 81111: "I was in Manchester on Bank Holiday Monday to watch Jenson drive the McLaren and the atmmosphere was amazing. Cannot wait to go to my first race next year."

BBC Sport's Sarah Holt in Monza: "Jenson Button was looking super-relaxed as he walked back to his car - racesuit stripped down to the waist, trainers on - for second practice. The 2009 champion wasn't as happy with his McLaren this morning and spent much of the session trying to find balance that suited him. In contrast, the team say team-mate Lewis Hamilton 'hit the ground running'. That probably helped Hamilton set the benchmark this morning and lead closest rival Button by almost a second. Oh, and McLaren had an answer on what on earth was going on with all that hammering at the front of Hamilton's car. Apparently they were removing a bit of ballast. Hope that's cleared that up."

1300: Having said that, Fernando Alonso is in no rush to get out there as he casually takes a drink in the garage. The pitlane is now open though with Sergio Perez among three cars to make an instant entrance.

1256: Maurice Hamilton on BBC 5 live is confident that the scorching conditions at Monza this afternoon will see an improvement in the Ferraris. As the drivers get into the cockpits of their cars it certainly looks fairly sweltering - 41 degrees on the track apparently.

1252: Another bit of news for you to catch up on this lunchtime as Red Bull extend their contract with engine suppliers Renault. After winning the title last year and another seven races already this year, hardly a surprise that one, but the partnership will continue for at least another five seasons.

Sebastien Buemi

Highlights - Italian GP first practice

1248: Highlights of this morning's action are now available for you UK users to catch up on over your lunch. Have a look.

1245: A reminder that you can get involved as we await the first action of the afternoon. Hamilton to continue to lead the way? Let me know on Twitter [via hashtag #BBCF1 ] or text us via 81111 with F1 before your message.

1240: As Sarah points out, Fernando Alonso managed the dream hat-trick of pole position, fastest lap and race win here last year. Some major improvements will be needed before qualifying tomorrow if he wants a repeat in front of thousands of Ferrari fans.

BBC Sport's Sarah Holt in Monza: "Ferrari are busy making set-up changes to their cars this lunchtime after admitting they are not where they wanted to be after first practice. Fernando Alonso was almost three seconds adrift of Lewis Hamilton's benchmark for McLaren, and just ahead of his team-mate Felipe Massa. The team revealed that Alonso had a problem with his rear left tyre in the morning session, which is why he did not go out to try to set a faster time with 10 minutes left on the clock. Ferrari are aiming to close the gap this afternoon. The team spokesman pointed out that last year they were also off the pace in first practice - 0.85secs that time - but that Alonso went on to take pole and then the race victory."

1230: Afternoon all, second practice is almost upon us. A reminder that Lewis Hamilton was fastest this morning ahead of team-mate Jenson Button and Sebastian Vettel. The Ferraris of Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa were down in seventh and eighth. Shall we expect a charge from the Prancing Horse this afternoon?

By Chris Whyatt

1045: Schumacher was 11th in first practice, you'll note. Nice little bruschetta-like appetiser that, wasn't it? Tom Rostance will be back to guide you through second practice from 1230 BST. See you then.

BBC Sport's Sarah Holt in Monza: "Working yesterday in the media centre, which sits along the pit straight, we were accompanied for much of the afternoon by chants of 'Michael, Michael' followed by more guttural bursts of 'Schumi, Schumi, Schumi, Schumi, Schumi!' A mass of Ferrari - and some Mercedes fans - pressed together outside the Mercedes garage to pay homage to their hero who has won in Monza five times with Ferrari. 'Winning Monza is one of the most sensational moments,' said Schumacher. 'It's kind of my third home grand prix after the Nurburgring and Spa. But I don't think we have a reason to talk about Monza victories in my position at the moment. We'll postpone that for next year.'"

BBC Radio 5 Live
1035: Hamilton was nearly a second quicker than team-mate Jenson Button, who was second-quickest. Red Bull's championship leader Sebastian Vettel third, then Mark Webber. "Lewis will be happy with that, though it's early days at the moment," says Maurice Hamilton on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra. "Don't write off Ferrari, though it's far too early to jump to any conclusions."

Chequered flag

1029: Looks like Ferrari are changing the engine for Fernando Alonso, so they should find some more speed. But will they increase their rear wing level in free practice part II? Plenty to ponder...

BBC Radio 5 Live
Ted Kravitz on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra: "Sensor problems for Timo Glock. His sensors in the exhaust have been going haywire all session, but they have sent him out to get some track time."

Text in your views on 81111 (UK)
Dave Standen texts: "It's fantastic at Monza!! I paid £98 for the 3-day general admission 2 years ago!! €10 per tent per night in the campsite on the 1st chicane!! Great value for money! Can't believe its gone up that much in 2 tears!!!???"

1024: Just over five minutes to go now. Lewis Hamilton still top...

BBC Sport's Sarah Holt in Monza: "Renault driver Vitaly Petrov was sporting a blueberry-coloured right eyelid after picking up a knock in a charity football match on Wednesday night. 'The ball hit me in the face,' he explained. The Renault driver was playing alongside Red Bull champion Sebastian Vettel and Sauber's Sergio Perez against a team of Ferrari fans and team mechanics is match that raised 10,000 euros for charity. Petrov is also celebrating his 27th birthday in Italy. When I asked him what F1 drivers have on their gift wish list, he became flustered. 'It's difficult to say,' he said. 'On this weekend maybe I want to have a good weekend because normally I have a bad weekend on my birthdays.'"

Scuderia Ferrari on Twitter at Monza: "It looks like there is a lot of work to do to try and be competitive with McLaren and Red Bull."

1018: Heavy fuel runs for Mercedes, for whom Michael Schumacher nearly goes off again in a high-speed moment at about 160mph.

Someone is out
1016: Belgian driver Jerome d'Ambrosio is out. Looks like an engine, or possibly gearbox, problem. Timo Glock has only done four laps. Not the best morning for Virgin Racing. They are on course for racing the most Grands Prix without scoring a point. Though they don't have that unwanted record yet.

1012: "Are you sure the rear wing is working? There's oversteer going through Parabolica..." says Jenson Button to McLaren over the radio. "We're looking into it," they holler back down the crackling line.

BBC Sport's Andrew Benson: "In the wake of the controversy over Red Bull's decision to run their front wheels with more camber - lean towards the car at the top - than Pirelli recommended in Belgium, 5 live pit-lane reporter Natalie Pinkham reveals governing body the FIA is going to force teams this weekend to comply with Pirelli's limits, which hitherto were only guidelines. That means any team doing what Red Bull did in Belgium will be reported to the stewards. As pit-lane reporter Ted Kravitz says: 'It's a safety thing more than anything else.' Monza is the track where tyres are most at risk of suffering camber-induced damage, which can lead to tyre failure. Kravitz adds: 'Race director Charlie Whiting is always on the look-out for teams taking the michael and he felt what Red Bull did in Belgium was heading towards that.'"

Kahorawaka on Twitter: "#bbcf1 _My fingers crossed for Alonso/Button to win remaining races and give us a frenzy at the end of this F1 season."

1004: So. Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button, Mark Webber... now your one-two-three. Then Vettel, Petrov, Alonso. The usual suspects.

The sun is out
BBC Sport's Andrew Benson: "Interesting to see Mike Barty's question below (see 0937 entry) about whether any top teams are interested in Kamui Kobayashi. As far as I know, the answer is no. That might surprise some viewers who are excited by the Japanese Sauber driver's swashbuckling and aggressve racing style, but there is a bigger question hanging over him - is he quick enough? He has been out-qualified 7-4 by rookie team-mate Sergio Perez this season. Kobayashi has scored a lot more points than the Mexican, but you'd expect that as he has a lot more experience. I'm not sure anyone in F1 is convinced Kobayashi is anywhere near the level of Alonso, Hamilton and Vettel." Sun still shining in Monza...

1001: Hmmm. Michael Schumacher - remember him? - oversteers at Parabolica to go walkies, briefly. Heikki Kovalainen is parked up at the first Lesmo, and won't get back to his garage without walking.

Maurice Hamilton on 5 live sports extra: "Ferrari are in a spot of bother. They are chopping and changing a bit too much in the team. I am not 100% convinced that they are on the right lines. They have just got to get their technical department back on track. They had a massive loss when they lost Ross Brawn a few years ago and they have had to rebuild. It is not good for a front-running team and it is going to take a couple of years to get back to where they were."

0951: Lewis Hamilton fastest now. Still plenty of oversteer though.

0949: Ah ha! Great news for Toro Rosso. Driver Jaime Alguersuari zips into the garage to tell his team over their radio link: "Compared to last year we have a lot more downforce. You can really feel a lot more grip when braking." Buemi seemingly pushing to the limits then, really testing their new parameters.

BBC Radio 5 Live
Ted Kravitz on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra: "Rubens Barichello is one driver not going anywhere at the moment. He was having problems with the wiring loom in his car as it was tangled around his steering wheel. A loss of track time for them which is the last thing they want - a terrible season for Williams."

0944: World champion and 2011 points leader Vettel now tops the first practice charts as Buemi makes another trip to the gravel.

0942: Some listeners on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra questioning the presence of Renualt's Bruno Senna, once again, in Formula 1. "But there are times I've seen Bruno Senna win, and win brilliantly," says commentator David Croft, talking of support races for F1. Pundit Maurice Hamilton then bemoans the fact that the Brazilian did not do enough karting as a youth.

Text in your views on 81111 (UK)
Mike Barty texts at 0937: "Do you think there is any possibility of Kobayashi getting a top drive? Is there any evidence of mcl/ferra/RBR/merc taking keen interest?"

0933: Toro Rosso's Jaime Alguersuari now top of the pops while team-mate Sebastien Buemi goes walkabouts off the track.

Jonathan Rapley on Twitter: "@5LiveF1 There are loads of marshalls trackside - scary! #bbcf1"

0923: Virgin Racing's Belgian driver Jerome d'Ambrosio the only man to post an official time so far. It means nothing. The famous old track is dappled with sumptuous morning sunshine, loud engine revs and tyre screeches cutting through the peaceful country air...

Text in your views on 81111 (UK)
Gary from Manchester texts us on 81111: "Lewis has to be one of the most aggressive/passionate drivers I've seen since Senna and the old Schumacher. He is very exciting and unpredictable to watch. You have to remember that the McLaren car has been a bit hit-and-miss since Lewis won his title. If he was in the Red Bull then I'm sure he would have already won his 2nd title."

BBC Sport's Sarah Holt in Monza: "There will be plenty to look out for in first practice as the drivers are tasked with finding the balance of cars that have been prepared specifically with Monza in mind. The low-downforce, high-speed track - which has four straights and just one fast corner at Parabolica - sees the teams run the smallest wings of the year for Monza. So the key to success here is finding the balance between straight-line speed and cornering. Many of the drivers I spoke to seemed excited to see so many variations of rear wings on display along the length of the pit lane describing them variously as 'as thin as two sheets of paper', 'as broad as a sail' and even 'a piece of rope'. I know that our man in the pit lane Ted Kravitz will have more technical analysis during P1."

0917: Now 2009 world champion Jenson Button is out on the track...

Lewis Hamilton

Hamilton hopes to 'bounce back' from Spa

BBC F1 pit-lane reporter Ted Kravitz: "Lewis Hamilton's up-and-down season continues to provide one of the major talking points in the paddock, with some people pointing to what they describe as his 'celebrity lifestyle' as one of the reasons behind his inconsistent form. But when I spoke to him on Thursday he was adamant that his relationship with pop singer Nicole Sherzinger and other famous friends such as rapper P Diddy were irrelevant. 'They [the media] don't really have a clue what I do in my personal life,' he said. 'I live a normal life and I can't understand why I can't have a relationship like everyone else can. I don't live a celebrity life. I am in F1 so the cameras are around me but when I go home I live a normal life and I am not distracted.'"

0904: Team Lotus's Heikki Kovalainen was first out onto the track. Remember, first practice lasts for 90 minutes. This is where the real work starts. With no in-season testing these days, practice - normally - is ever crucial. Plenty of drivers out now. There's Vettel.

0900: Hurrah. First practice is go. Live coverage on the Red Button, at the top of this page (which you might like to refresh), and on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra. Italy looks stunning. Plus ca change...

Samuel Brown on Twitter: "I'm up, I look half dead but i'm up!!! #bbcf1"

BBC Sport's Sarah Holt in Monza: "Hello again. I have some good news for weather fans. There are clear, blue skies over Monza and the trees of the park are bathed in late summer sunshine. It's hard to believe that at the heart of this beautiful woodland lies Formula 1's fastest challenge; a high-throttle, 3.5-mile circuit where drivers are expected to reach average top speeds of 158mph. Unfortunately the drive to the circuit is less thrilling. Team BBC contended with bumper-to-bumper traffic this morning and some wags have even suggested the roadworks have been here as long as the historic autodromo. In fact, mentioning the traffic was the only thing that seemed to bring down Jenson Button's positive mood. 'I thought I'd try driving round Milan again, and again, and again,' joked Button, through gritted teeth. 'The road works are pretty rubbish… but that's enough negativity.' Indeed. We should be in for a right treat over the next three days."
The sun is out

0850: I implore you to get in touch. You don't want to be stranded on an island alone with my ramblings! Seriously, it'd be great to hear your predictions. Where does Monza stand in your pantheon of tracks? To get involved use Twitter [via hashtag #BBCF1 ] or text us via 81111 with F1 before your message.

0840: How are we all feeling today? Better than Lewis Hamilton I hope, who seems pretty depressed ahead of the Italian Grand Prix. He says this is his 'worst year' in Formula 1. As demanding as Fernando Alonso, who wants 'perfection' from Ferrari this weekend? As chilled as Jenson Button, who wants McLaren to win more races this season - but only 'just for fun', you understand. Or as understated as Red Bull's runaway championship leader Sebastian Vettel, who insists he is not necessarily the favourite for Sunday.

0830: Rev up those engines. We're onto the home straight now. Seven races to go in the 2011 world championship. It's Monza-time.

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Live Leaderboard


After 60 of 61 laps
Position Driver Team

Race stopped at 60 laps

1 Great Britain L Hamilton Mercedes
2 Germany S Vettel Red Bull
3 Australia D Ricciardo Red Bull
4 Spain F Alonso Ferrari
5 Brazil F Massa Williams
6 France J Vergne Toro Rosso
7 Mexico S Perez Force India
8 Finland K Raikkonen Ferrari
9 Germany N Hulkenberg Force India
10 Denmark K Magnussen McLaren
11 Finland V Bottas Williams
12 Venezuela P Maldonado Lotus
13 France R Grosjean Lotus
14 Russia D Kvyat Toro Rosso
15 Sweden M Ericsson Caterham
16 France J Bianchi Marussia
17 Great Britain M Chilton Marussia
18 Great Britain J Button (ret.) McLaren
19 Germany A Sutil (ret.) Sauber
20 Mexico E Gutierrez (ret.) Sauber
21 Germany N Rosberg (ret.) Mercedes
22 Japan K Kobayashi (ret.) Caterham

see also
Italian Grand Prix practice results
08 Mar 11 |  Results
Vettel heads Hamilton in practice
09 Sep 11 |  Formula One
Red Bull extend Renault contract
09 Sep 11 |  Formula One
Hamilton to 'come back stronger'
07 Sep 11 |  Formula One
Hamilton rues 'worst year' in F1
09 Sep 11 |  Formula One
Alonso demands 'perfect' Ferrari
09 Sep 11 |  Formula One
No backing off, says Vettel
30 Aug 11 |  Formula One

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