Hamilton fastest in Monza Friday practice
Lewis Hamilton set fastest time in the morning session for McLaren on the P Zero White medium tyres with a time of 1:23:865 as Pirelli’s home race weekend in the historic surroundings of Monza got underway. In the afternoon, Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel was quickest with a time of 1:24:010, set during an eight-lap run on the P Zero Yellow soft tyres.
As usual, the drivers used the free practice sessions to experiment with different fuel loads, as well seeing the effects of DRS and KERS. An important part of free practice this year is assessing the behaviour of the tyres, in order to find the right compromise between performance, durability and consistency. All the teams were pleased with the tyre performance at Monza, reporting no problems at the fastest circuit of the year after assessing several different parameters.
Pirelli’s motorsport director Paul Hembery commented: “Conditions were particularly tough today because of the heat at Monza as well as the usual high speeds, so we didn’t see much evolution of the track from the morning to the afternoon. Despite this heavy punishment, the tyres performed well – especially the medium, with Lewis Hamilton making the most of the cooler conditions in the morning.
“We’re analysing the data throughout the afternoon, but there appears to be no blistering outside the usual parameters for this circuit. From a company point of view, it’s an amazing feeling to be racing here on our home territory and we’ve enjoyed some fantastic support from all the fans here so far. With six drivers within half a second of Sebastian Vettel this afternoon and two extensive DRS zones, it’s going to be a very fast and closely-fought qualifying session tomorrow.”
Pirelli also hosted a photographic exhibition in the Paddock Club today, celebrating more than 100 years of motorsport. The exhibition contained previously unseen images and documents detailing Pirelli’s heritage in Formula One as well as many other forms of motorsport worldwide.