Hamilton leads Alonso by tiny margin at Monza

2012 Italian Grand Prix third practice

Posted on

| Written by

Lewis Hamilton stayed on top in the final practice session at Monza.

But the gap between him and Fernando Alonso was a mere one thousandth of a second.

McLaren led the way to begin with in the session, Hamilton setting a 1’24.687 to eclipse the quickest time seen on Friday – which he also set – by six tenths of a second. Jenson Button backed him up in second, half a second off his team mate’s time.

Following their installation laps the Ferrari drivers stayed in the pits until halfway through the session. Alonso moved up to second-quickest when he joined the track, then edged Hamilton’s time by 0.055s after using the slipstream from his team mate on the run from Lesmo 2 to Ascari.

As was the case yesterday drivers made only small improvements after switching to the medium tyres. Alonso found five-hundredths of a second to increase his margin at the top of the times.

But Hamilton edged the Ferrari by one-thousandth of a second to take the fastest time back.

Paul di Resta put his Force India third on the timing sheets. He was followed by the second Ferrari of Massa, who lost some time with a mistake at Parabolica on his quickest lap.

Several drivers had KERS problems during the session: Michael Schumacher lost his entirely early on, Kimi Raikkonen was told “no KERS” as well and Mark Webber reported a loss of KERS during one of his laps.

The other Red Bull had problems too – Sebastian Vettel came to a stop at the Roggia chicane two minutes before the end of the session, reporting a battery problem.

Pos.No.DriverCarBest lapGapLaps
14Lewis HamiltonMcLaren-Mercedes1’24.57818
25Fernando AlonsoFerrari1’24.5790.00115
311Paul di RestaForce India-Mercedes1’24.8490.27120
46Felipe MassaFerrari1’24.9090.33116
53Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Mercedes1’24.9940.41617
68Nico RosbergMercedes1’25.0360.45822
715Sergio PerezSauber-Ferrari1’25.1600.58223
89Kimi RaikkonenLotus-Renault1’25.2550.67719
912Nico HulkenbergForce India-Mercedes1’25.2890.71120
1018Pastor MaldonadoWilliams-Renault1’25.3830.80518
112Mark WebberRed Bull-Renault1’25.3890.81121
121Sebastian VettelRed Bull-Renault1’25.4060.82817
1319Bruno SennaWilliams-Renault1’25.4610.88321
147Michael SchumacherMercedes1’25.5630.98523
1514Kamui KobayashiSauber-Ferrari1’25.6891.11122
1616Daniel RicciardoToro Rosso-Ferrari1’25.7061.12816
1710Jerome D’AmbrosioLotus-Renault1’25.9731.39520
1817Jean-Eric VergneToro Rosso-Ferrari1’26.0031.42519
1920Heikki KovalainenCaterham-Renault1’26.6572.07918
2021Vitaly PetrovCaterham-Renault1’27.2672.68916
2125Charles PicMarussia-Cosworth1’27.4542.87620
2224Timo GlockMarussia-Cosworth1’27.7283.15019
2323Narain KarthikeyanHRT-Cosworth1’28.0353.45723
2422Pedro de la RosaHRT-Cosworth1’28.3843.80617

Combined practice times

PosDriverCarFP1FP2FP3Fri/Sat diffTotal laps
1Lewis HamiltonMcLaren-Mercedes1’25.9441’25.2901’24.578-0.71218
2Fernando AlonsoFerrari1’25.8001’25.3481’24.579-0.76915
3Paul di RestaForce India-Mercedes1’25.5481’24.849-0.69920
4Felipe MassaFerrari1’25.8811’25.4301’24.909-0.52116
5Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Mercedes1’25.7231’25.3281’24.994-0.33417
6Nico RosbergMercedes1’25.7621’25.4461’25.036-0.4122
7Sergio PerezSauber-Ferrari1’26.3231’26.0681’25.160-0.90823
8Kimi RaikkonenLotus-Renault1’26.0461’25.5041’25.255-0.24919
9Nico HulkenbergForce India-Mercedes1’26.5181’25.5471’25.289-0.25820
10Pastor MaldonadoWilliams-Renault1’26.5041’26.4041’25.383-1.02118
11Mark WebberRed Bull-Renault1’26.3901’26.1041’25.389-0.71521
12Sebastian VettelRed Bull-Renault1’26.5081’26.3941’25.406-0.98817
13Michael SchumacherMercedes1’25.4221’26.0941’25.563+0.14123
14Bruno SennaWilliams-Renault1’26.7831’25.461-1.32221
15Kamui KobayashiSauber-Ferrari1’26.7461’26.7301’25.689-1.04122
16Daniel RicciardoToro Rosso-Ferrari1’27.3731’26.7241’25.706-1.01816
17Jerome D’AmbrosioLotus-Renault1’27.1801’26.1571’25.973-0.18420
18Jean-Eric VergneToro Rosso-Ferrari1’27.7891’26.8641’26.003-0.86119
19Valtteri BottasWilliams-Renault1’26.6410
20Heikki KovalainenCaterham-Renault1’27.8551’26.8411’26.657-0.18418
21Jules BianchiForce India-Mercedes1’27.1920
22Vitaly PetrovCaterham-Renault1’28.5781’27.2221’27.267+0.04516
23Charles PicMarussia-Cosworth1’28.7511’27.9681’27.454-0.51420
24Timo GlockMarussia-Cosworth1’29.2071’27.9441’27.728-0.21619
25Narain KarthikeyanHRT-Cosworth1’28.7791’28.035-0.74423
26Pedro de la RosaHRT-Cosworth1’29.3311’28.5751’28.384-0.19117
27Ma Qing HuaHRT-Cosworth1’31.2390

2012 Italian Grand Prix

Browse all 2012 Italian Grand Prix articles

Image © McLaren/Hoch Zwei

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

26 comments on “Hamilton leads Alonso by tiny margin at Monza”

  1. I’d say this weekend is going to be crucial to the championship. Both Alonso and the McLarens look strong, while Red Bull is noticeably off the pace. Button and Hamilton absolutely need to finish ahead of Alonso – and they probably need him to have a poor race, as well – if they want to have any chance of reeling him in during the final flyaway races.

    1. I guess it’s all down to Maldonado then :P

      1. He will be able to bulldoze at least 10 cars here which means he can outperform Gorsjean’s shunt.

      2. Sadly I think that Maldonado may have already decided the outcome of what will be a close championship.

    2. I’d say it’s fine if Alonso finishes third behind the two McLarens. The most important thing for him right now is to finish ahead of the Red Bulls, particularly Vettel.

      I honestly can’t imagine Hamilton and Button gaining some 50-60 points on Alonso during the remaining races, despite having the best car at the moment. They will take points off each other as they did during the last three races – Button finished 2nd in Germany, Hamilton won in Hungary and once again Button won in Belgium. If they do gain – they will pull of some Raikkonen 2007, Schumacher 2006 or Hakkinen 2000.

    3. So the only strategy for both Alonso and Hamilton is to lock the front row and run away as far as they can from Maldonado.

    4. Alonso/Ferrari look too strong to let this one go easily. And, as you say JB and LH need to finish ahead of Alonso. Promising race!

      1. I am going for Hamilton Button Alonso Raikkonen Rosberg Massa Vettle Perez Di resta Maldonado as my predicted top 10.

        1. looking good so far…

  2. force india seems to be quick here,,,,, i diresta was not on penalty,,,, i beleive he would have scored more points

  3. lotus and red bull appear to be struggling on single lap pace, wouldnt be suprised if the qualy 3 is full of mercedes powered cars but they are probably better on race pace
    tipping hamilton for pole and win

    1. I would tip Hamilton for the pole, but for the race I think Ferrari has generally shown better race pace. So it is going to be tight with better chances for Alonso.

  4. It’s so tight! I don’t really who would be the pole. Just a tiny mistake will be very crucial.

    1. And to make it even a bit more difficult to predict … who will do a 2 laps quali or 2 times a single lap ?

  5. Yesterday, i thought that qualli was going to be great and the race boring, now i think both will be boring, off course at the top end, the choice of tyres for this last 2 rounds may be the crucial factor here, or it’s just the nature of the track, we will know the answer after this weekend, unique track and those harder not so flattering tyres.

  6. pirelli should have brought the soft and the hard, not medium and hard that would have made it a two stop race!!!

  7. Mclaren looks strong and it looks like Hamilton is set for a good grix position and a strong race. If it happens, that might give him an extra edge in the negotiations with Mclaren. we shall see!

  8. I can see Alonso using Massa as a slipstream in qualification, too. Of course, the McLarens won’t be doing that anytime soon!

    1. @electrolite He’ll need Massa to get into Q3 first, which hasn’t been a given. But with Ferrari well up there on pace this weekend that shouldn’t be a problem for him.

  9. Massa’s looking more on the pace this weekend.

  10. It really should have been ‘the tiniest margin’. Rarely we see a 0.001 difference between the first and the second.

    Actually, Ferrari could pull this ‘tactics’ off during Q3 as well – using Massa at some point of the track to have Alonso slipstream him. The field is so close that this could well make the difference. Neither McLaren, nor Red Bull can afford this.

    1. @atticus-2 Well we’ve had three drivers set identical pole position times to within a thousandth of a second before, so it wouldn’t actually be true!

      In IndyCar they publish times to ten-thousandths of a second. F1 teams are measured that accurately but we only ever see the times to a thousandths.

      1. Yeah, I remember Villeneuve, Schumacher and Frentzen’s 1:21-something in Jerez. On a season finale. It was frantic. But rare – did we have two drivers setting identical pole or practice times since then?

        In any case, I didn’t know times in F1 are measured to ten-thousends of a second, thanks for the info. My obvious next question is does it determine the order now, only we do not get to see the times, or is it still the old rule of who sets it first? I believe it’s the latter, but then why not the former, if we have the technology?

  11. The top 14 covered by 1s, full Monza mode this weekend for everyone! Karthikeyan finished above De La Rosa, wonder what that is all about, thought De La Rosa had the skinny wing?

  12. What´s the matter with Pirelli, are they on the Bridgestone path?! They have to be more agressive, they have to react to the teams better understanding of their tyres. Pretty bad sign when apparently everybody will manage a 1 stop race.
    Qualifying will be interesting and a few surprises may arise, concerning to the race it will be dull and with a huge lack of uncertainty.

  13. The fastest time of Alonso was set on medium tyres and he didn’t use his team mate slipstream.

Comments are closed.