Saturday, September 08, 2012
Hamilton pips Alonso in final Monza practice
By Alan Baldwin
MONZA, Italy (Reuters) - McLaren's Lewis Hamilton beat Ferrari's Formula One pacesetter Fernando Alonso by the blink of an eye in final practice for the Italian Grand Prix at a sunny Monza circuit on Saturday.
The Briton lapped the fastest track on the calendar with a best time of one minute 24.578 seconds, just 0.001 quicker than the Spaniard.
Hamilton was also fastest in Friday practice and will be gunning for McLaren's third pole position in a row in later qualifying.
Alonso has a 24 point lead in the championship over Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel after 12 of the 20 races. Vettel pulled off the track late in the session, telling his team he had "no battery".
Force India's Paul Di Resta was third fastest but will collect a five place penalty on the starting grid for an unscheduled gearbox change.
Ferrari's Felipe Massa, speculation swirling around his future at the team, lapped fourth fastest for his team's home race with team president Luca di Montezemolo watching from the garages.
McLaren's Jenson Button, winner at Spa last weekend, was fifth on the timesheets.