Monza, Italy, Sept 7, 2012 (AFP) - Lewis Hamilton topped the times for McLaren in Friday's second free practice session ahead of this weekend's
Italian Grand Prix, the Briton bouncing back from his errant and luckless display in Belgium with a forceful performance.
The 27-year-old showed few after-effects from the opening lap crash that wrecked his race last Sunday, when the 2008 world champion was also
embarrassed by having to remove various ill-judged 'Tweets' containing team information, by outpacing McLaren team-mate and compatriot Jenson Button.
Hamilton, linked with a possible move to Mercedes next year, clocked a fastest lap of one minute and 25.290 seconds while Button was just behind him
with 1:25.325, a narrow gap that endorsed the overall advantage of the McLaren team ahead of their rivals.
These were led by the two Ferraris of Spanish two-time champion Fernando Alonso and Brazilian Felipe Massa who gave a sparse crowd at the old Autodromo Nazionale something to cheer with a show of speed that promised more than it proved.
It was, alas, a troubled day for Alonso who suffered an engine failure in the morning session - when German veteran Michael Schumacher topped the times for Mercedes - and then endured brake and gearbox problems in the afternoon.
German Nico Rosberg was fifth fastest for Mercedes ahead of Finn Kimi Raikkonen, in the leading Lotus, with Briton Paul Di Resta seventh for Force
India ahead of team-mate German Nico Hulkenberg, Mexican Sergio Perez of Sauber and Schumacher.
Australian Mark Webber and his Red Bull team-mate defending champion Sebastian Vettel of Germany were down in 11th and 13th places, either side of
12th man Belgian Jerome d'Ambrosio, on his debut with the Lotus team as replacement this weekend for suspended Frenchman Romain Grosjean.
Grosjean was banned for causing the accident that wiped out Hamilton, Alonso, Japanese Kamui Kobayashi of Sauber and himself last Sunday at
On a perfect late summer's day in the former royal park, with the air temperature touching 30 degrees Celsius and the track temperature at 42
degrees, McLaren were always fastest in the build up to this weekend's final race of the European part of the F1 season.
Button went top after 16 minutes after Indian Narain Karthikeyan had run off in his Hispania. Rosberg then took over briefly before being succeeded by Alonso before Hamilton and Button re-exerted their control on proceedings with fastest laps in the closing stages.
For Hamilton, it was a confidence-boosting outing after his recent problems and though he gave little away it was clear he enjoyed being back at the sharp
end of the action after his frustrations in Belgium.
.1. Lewis Hamilton (GBR/McLaren MP4-27) 1:25.290 .2. Jenson Button (GBR/McLaren MP4-27) 1:25.328 .3. Fernando Alonso (ESP/Ferrari F2012) 1:25.348 .4. Felipe Massa (BRA/Ferrari F2012) 1:25.430 .5. Nico Rosberg (GER/Mercedes F1 W03) 1:25.446 .6. Kimi Raikkonen (FIN/Lotus E20) 1:26.504 .7. Paul di Resta (GBR/Force India VJM05) 1:25.546 .8. Niko Hülkenberg (GER/Force India VJM05) 1:26.547 .9. Sergio Pérez (MEX/Sauber C31) 1:26.068 10. Michael Schumacher (GER/Mercedes F1 W03) 1:26.094 11. Mark Webber (AUS/Reb Bull RB8) 1:26.104 12. Jerome D'Ambrossio (BEL/Lotus E20) 1:26.157 13. Sebastian Vettel (GER/Red Bull RB8) 1:26.394 14. Pastor Maldonado (VEN/Williams FW34) 1:26.404 15. Daniel Ricciardo (AUS/Toro Rosso STR7) 1:26.724 16. Kamui Kobayashi (JPN/Sauber C31) 1:26.730 17. Bruno Senna (BRA/Williams FW34) 1:26.783 18. Heikki Kovalainen (FIN/Caterham CT01) 1:27.841 19. Jean-Eric Vergne (FRA/Toro Rosso STR7) 1:27.864 20. Vitaly Petrov (RUS/Caterham CT01) 1:27.222 21. Timo Glock (GER/Marussia MR01) 1:27.944 22. Charles Pic (FRA/Marussia MR01) 1:27.968 23. Pedro de la Rosa (ESP/HRT 112) 1:28.575 24. Narain Karthikeyan (IND/HRT 112) 1:28.779