• Italian Grand Prix - FP2

Hamilton tops tight second practice

ESPN Staff
September 7, 2012

Lewis Hamilton set the pace during second practice for the Italian Grand Prix after just edging Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso, who were both within a tenth of a second of the lead McLaren.

The session saw track temperatures of 42C and that appeared to play into the hands of the McLaren duo, who set their best times on medium tyres. Fernando Alonso was just 0.053s off Hamilton, but had to retire from the session early after getting stuck in second gear. It was another setback for Alonso after his engine problem in FP1, but Ferrari confirmed it was not the race gearbox and can be changed without penalty.

The top eight, including Felipe Massa, Nico Rosberg, Kimi Raikkonen, Paul di Resta and Nico Hulkenberg, were all within 0.257s of Hamilton's time ahead of what looks likely to be a closely fought grand prix weekend.

The Mercedes engine appears to be strong at Monza, with all six of the Mercedes-powered cars in the top ten. Michael Schumacher finished the session in tenth place - 0.8s off the pace - but would have been higher up had it not been for a DRS failure at the start of the session.

The Red Bull pair of Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel were 11th and 13th respectively, but were more competitive on high fuel as the teams did race simulations. McLaren, Mercedes, Ferrari, Red Bull and Lotus were all able to post times in the 1m29s bracket.

Jerome d'Ambrosio - filling in for Romain Grosjean this weekend - was 12th quickest for Lotus and just 0.867s off the best time. It was a close field with 19 cars covered by 1.5s as Caterham showed encouraging pace; Heikki Kovalainen setting a best time just 0.7s off the top ten.

One complaint the drivers had was with the kerbs placed on the run-off areas at Monza, with Schumacher radioing in to Mercedes to inform race director Charlie Whiting that they had the possibility to injure the drivers if they hit one at speed.