Italian Grand Prix practice as it happened

Text and video of practice for the Italian GP, where Ferrari hero Fernando Alonso pulled out with a gearbox problem.

7 September 2012 Last updated at 21:03

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As it happened

  1. 1450: 

    As always, thanks for your company and contributions. I'll be back tomorrow morning to take you through third practice and qualifying. See you at 09:30 BST. So until then, it's good afternoon from me. Cheerio.

  2. 1446: 

    That's just about it from me for today. Here's Andrew Benson's practice report, plus keep an eye on later today for our second practice highlights package plus all the news and reaction from the first two sessions of the weekend.


    Sean Patrick on Twitter: "Red Bull do not look quick at all. Top four for their rivals. This is all playing into Alonso's hands."

  4. 1442: 

    So it's a McLaren 1-2, headed by Lewis Hamilton with the Ferraris of Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa less than a tenth behind in third and fourth respectively. Nico Rosberg Kimi Raikkonen, Paul di Resta and Nico Hulkenberg were all within two tenths as well while Michael Schumacher looked blisteringly quick despite not having the use of DRS for most of the session. Qualifying, then, should be an absolute corker.

  5. 1439: 

    That's at least some good news for Fernando Alonso who needed an engine change between sessions and will now need a new gearbox fitted ahead of third practice and qualifying on Saturday.


    Ferrari on Twitter: "The gearbox on Fernando's car can be replaced without penalty as this was not a race unit."

  7. 1437: 

    And here's 1-12:

    1) Hamilton 2) Button 3) Alonso 4) Massa 5) Rosberg 6) Raikkonen 7) Di Resta 8) Hulkenberg 9) Perez 10) Schumacher 11) Webber 12) D'Ambrosio

  8. 1435: 

    So here's how they finished 13-24:

    13) Vettel 14) Maldonado 15) Ricciardo 16) Kobayashi 17) Senna 18) Kovalainen 19) Vergne 20) Petrov 21) Glock 22) Pic 23) De la Rosa 24) Karthikeyan

  9. 1432: 

    Well that was a pretty busy session. The fans certainly got their monies worth as the teams made the best of good weather. Felipe Massa clocked an impressive 43 laps - 10 less than the entire race distance - with most covering more than 35 at the very least. Fernando Alonso and Kamui Kobayashi saw their running reduced with mechanical issues and managed just 17 laps each.

  10. 1430: 


  11. 1428: 

    We've not seen much of the Red Bulls during this session. Mark Webber is down in 11th, two places ahead of team-mate Sebastian Vettel. The two drivers are eight tenths and 1.1 seconds off the pace respectively.

  12. 1424: 

    Kamui Kobayashi's session is over a few minutes early. The Sauber driver has been in and out of the pits during FP2 as the team try to understand why the Japanese driver is reporting "bouncing" issues with the car. He'll finish no better than 16th, 1.440 seconds off the pace having completed just 17 laps compared to Felipe Massa who has clocked up a massive 41.

  13. 1420: 

    Jerome D'Ambrosio, who is standing in for Romain Grosjean at Lotus for this race, is 12th fastest, sixth tenths off his team-mate Kimi Raikkonen.

  14. 1415: 

    The focus is on long runs at the moment, so it's unlikely the standings will change. But it's worth pointing out that the top eight, from Lewis Hamilton in P1 to Nico Hulkenberg in P8, are separated by just 0.257 seconds. Qualifying should be interesting...


    HRT on Twitter: "The session ends for Narain because of a small problem with the car which is being looked at."

    BBC F1 technical analyst Gary Anderson

    On Fernando Alonso's Ferrari: "It's looks like his gearbox wasn't working for him. They're taking the bodywork off so I imagine that's his day done and dusted."

  17. 1409: 

    It looks like Fernando Alonso's day is over as he steps out of the car, takes of his helmet and heads out the back of the garage. His team-mate Felipe Massa, meanwhile, is still out on track clocking up the laps. The Brazilian is 0.140 seconds off Lewis Hamilton's leading pace after doing 28 laps.

  18. 1405: 

    Fernando Alonso has slowed suddenly and is cruising down the back straight in the second gear before sticking it in neutral and easing down the pit lane towards his garage. More problems for the Spaniard after the brake issue earlier on.


    Macario on Twitter: "Way to go Lewis with current fastest lap. That's it fella, forget the chitchat just drive!"

  20. 1400: 

    With 30 minutes remaining, here's how they stand:

    1) Hamilton 2) Button 3) Alonso 4) Massa 5) Rosberg 6) Raikkonen 7) Di Resta 8) Hulkenberg

    9) Perez 10) Schumacher 11) Webber 12) D'Ambrosio 13) Vettel 14) Maldonado 15) Ricciardo 16) Kobayashi

    17) Kovalainen 18) Senna 19) Vergne 20) Petrov 21) Glock 22) Pic 23) De la Rosa 24) Karthikeyan

  21. 1355: 

    Lewis Hamilton goes quickest of all with a 1:25.290, 1.2 seconds slower than Sebastian Vettel's pace-setting time in second practice last year. Hamilton leads McLaren team-mate Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso of Ferrari with the trio separated by just 0.060 seconds.

  22. 1351: 

    Eden Bishop-Jones on Twitter: "Michael Schumacher looking quick! If it wasn't for reliability issues and retirement rumours he'd be in a better position."

    Li Chen on Twitter: "Schu to win at Monza, emotional celebration with the Merc team and the tifosi, and continue racing for another year!"

    Dan in Ashton under Lyne, via text: "I think Alonso will stick it on pole just because it's Ferrari's home race. Hamilton needs a win to get his title attempt back on track.

    BBC F1 technical analyst Gary Anderson

    On Ferrari's work on Fernando Alonso's car after he reported a potential brake problem: "They took the drum and caliper off. It's not uncommon to get a stone jamming it. But I didn't see them replacing it with any new bits."


    Sauber on Twitter: "Kamui came back quickly as he wasn't happy with the car. He reported it was bouncing too much."

  25. 1346: 

    Felipe Massa improves to go second quickest, 0.080 seconds slower than his Ferrari team-mate Fernando Alonso. Meanwhile, Mercedes inform Jennie Gow that Michael Schumacher's DRS is still not working, but they're not too worried because it's not as important during the long run. Instead, they'd rather carry on with their programme and then sort it out after the session.

  26. 1341: 

    Fernando Alonso over-shoots the first corner chicane and goes straight on down the escape road. The Spaniard takes to the grass, rather than negotiating the bollards and then gets on the radio and says: "Something's broken." BBC F1 technical analyst Gary Anderson says that the mechanics have surrounded the left-hand side of the car, focusing on the area around the brakes.


    Andrew Spencer on Twitter: "I can see JB having another good weekend. Seems to be in good harmony with the car."

  28. 1336: 

    BBC Radio 5 live pit lane report Jennie Gow reports that according to Paul di Resta and another member of Force India, the Silverstone-based team have stopped developing this year's car and switched their focus to next season's machine.

  29. 1333: 

    There may not be any Italian drivers on the grid this year, but there is one in paddock today. Ex-driver Vitantonio Liuzzi has made an appearance in the HRT garage.

  30. 1332: 

    Michael Schumacher is back out on track, but Mercedes' problems are far from over. The team radio Nico Rosberg to tell him he may have a problem with his DRS now.

  31. 1328: 

    Mercedes, McLaren and Ferrari looking quick at Monza with the top six separated by just half a second. Who is your tip to shine in qualifying and then the race? Get involved using the #bbcf1 hashtag on Twitter or by texting 81111 (UK only).

  32. 1324: 

    The crowd take to their feet as Fernando Alonso sends Ferrari to the top of the timesheets with a 1:25.350, just 0.096 seconds faster than Nico Rosberg in the Mercedes. Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton are fourth and fifth in their McLarens with Kimi Raikkonen, Michael Schumacher, Paul di Resta, Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg completing the top 10.

  33. 1319: 

    There's some better news for the other half of the Mercedes garage, though, as Nico Rosberg goes quickest of all, 0.165 seconds quicker than the Ferrari of Felipe Massa. Fernando Alonso has tucked his Ferrari into third, two tenths off Rosberg to underline the Scuderia's pace.

  34. 1317: 

    Just when things were starting to look rosey for Michael Schumacher, the German is told over the radio that his DRS overtaking aid has failed. Not the first time the seven-time world champion has had a mechanical DRS issue this season.

  35. 1316: 

    Jenson Button is oozing confidence at the minute. The 2009 world champion was awesome in qualifying for the Belgian Grand Prix on his way to his first pole position in three years. The Briton then followed that up with a dominant victory in the race and looks super comfortable at Monza too as he goes quickest of all in his McLaren.

  36. 1313: 

    Lewis Hamilton got a bit of traffic on his first timed lap, but the 2008 world champion backed off, got himself some clear air and had another go. This time, he hooked it up nicely with personal bests in all three sectors to go second quickest, 0.114 seconds off the pace.

  37. 1312: 

    Nico Rosberg underlines Mercedes' good pace with the second fastest time, with his team-mate Michael Schumacher, who was quickest this morning, going fourth on his first flying lap.

  38. 1310: 

    The Ferrari team have done a fantastic job on Fernando Alonso's car, changing the engine in super quick time after the Spaniard suffered a failure in first practice. Expect to see him out and about before too long.

  39. 1309: 

    The field are really not hanging around in this session. Most have not bothered with installation laps, instead heading out straight away to clock up the mileage. Kimi Raikkonen has set the early pace with a 1:25.934, four tenths quicker than Jenson Button and half a second faster than the Sauber of Sergio Perez.

  40. 1306: 

    BBC Radio 5 live pit lane reporter Jennie Gow says that Mercedes were able to fix Michael Schumacher's gearbox rather than replace it, which would have inccured a five-place grid penalty. The German lost sixth gear in the closing stages of the Belgian Grand Prix but the team have managed to change the gear ratios and it seems to be working for now.

  41. 1302: 

    Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery has joined James Allen in the BBC Radio 5 live commentary box. You can listen to them via the link at the top right of this page.

    Hembery says that based on the low wear levels of the tyres in first practice this morning, a one-stop strategy will be on the cards on race day.

  42. 1300: 
    GO! GO! GO!

    Second practice for the Italian Grand Prix is go, go, go.

  43. 1256: 

    The air temperature is up nine degrees from this morning, which means the track temp is up, too. BBC F1 technical analyst Gary Anderson says the teams will be able to get their tyres up to temperatures quickly while the rubber should be more durable, too.

  44. 1253: 

    Lewis Hamilton is looking chipper as he strolls out of the McLaren motorhome, signs a few autographs and then heads into the garage to begin his preparations for the second practice. We've got just seven minutes until the pit lane opens its doors.

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson at Monza:

    "Vergne says: 'Qualifying has been quite difficult for me. As a rookie, qualifying is quite tough. In racing, you do 60-70 laps with a lot of fuel, with tyres to take care of. Qualifying you are running one lap with low fuel and tyres you don't care and you push maximum attack for one lap. This doesn't happen so often except in qualifying. So to train for this you have to do qualifying and qualifying has been better and better for me. I'm still not perfect, I still have to improve for sure. Hockenheim was better, Budapest was again better and Spa was again better so I think I am in the right way at least.'"

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson at Monza:

    "The battle between the two Toro Rosso drivers is always interesting and ahead of this year there were insiders at Red Bull who felt that ultimately Jean-Eric Vergne might have more potential than team-mate Daniel Ricciardo, who entered the year with half a season's experience while Vergne was a rookie. Vergne started well in Australia, but struggled in qualifying after that and is currently nine-three down on Ricciardo. But there has been a sign of an upturn in form from the Frenchman recently, and in Spa he beat the Australian in qualifying for the first time since the Spanish Grand Prix, and went on to finish ahead in the race."

  47. 1248: 

    Our multimedia team have been busy cutting down this morning's 90-minute first practice session into a snappy highlights video. Here's what they came up with. Enjoy.

  48. 1244: 

    Only two Fridays of a race weekend this season have escaped even the slightest of showers and it looks like Monza is set to make that three. The 5.793km 11-turn track is bathing in glorious sunshine at the minute - as it has all day - and that looks set to continue throughout the weekend according to BBC weatherman Ian Fergusson.

  49. 1241: 

    We often get asked about how former Renault and Sauber driver Robert Kubica is doing with his recovery following a big rallying accident in February 2011. Well, Autosport reports that the Pole, who seriously injured his right arm and hand, is set to make his return to competition with an entry in the Gomitolo di Lana Rally in Italy on Saturday.

  50. 1237: 

    There were a couple of stoppages out on track in first practice with Fernando Alonso pulling off track with what Ferrari said was an engine problem, similar to the one Felipe Massa had in practice at Spa. It's an old engine, which was coming to end of its life, so the team would have planned to change it anyway. Pastor Maldonado stopped, too, with Williams later revealing it was a hydraulics issue.

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson at Monza:

    "The speed trap times made interesting reading after first practice. As expected, with their 'double DRS' straight-line speed boosting device, the Mercedes cars - first and third overall - were very fast on the straights. They were fastest of all before the braking points for the second chicane, Roggia, and Ascari. And while not fastest into Turn One, they were nearly 10km/h up on the McLarens.

    "But the McLarens were first and second fastest over the finish line, which is shortly after Parabolica, with the fastest Mercedes (Rosberg), 6km/h slower. All of which suggests a) McLaren are running more downforce than Mercedes; b) the 'double DRS' is helping Mercedes a great deal; c) the Mercedes is still not great in corners; and d) Button and Hamilton were running similar downforce levels, unlike at Spa last weekend."

  52. 1233: 

    Welcome, one and all, to second practice for the Italian Grand Prix at Monza. Michael Schumacher headed a Mercedes-powered 1-2-3 in first practice, ahead of McLaren's Jenson Button and Mercedes's Nico Rosberg. Can the silver machines maintain their dominance in the second session?

  53. 1230: 

    The Tifosi, who pack the grandstands at Monza every year, are only after one thing - victory for Ferrari but based on the results of first practice, it looks like Mercedes and McLaren are going to spoil the party...

  54. 1055: 

    Thanks for all your company and contributions. More of the same for second practice, please. I'll be back at 12:30 BST to build you up to that 90-minute session. I do hope you'll join me. Ciao for now.

  55. 1052: 

    Chris Jenner on Twitter: "I find it strange how Hulkenberg is consistently over looked to Di Resta for a big race seat in the top teams. British advantage?"

    Joe Konarski on Twitter: "Hamilton would be championship leader if it wasn't for McLaren mistakes, can understand him thinkin of leaving, hope he stays though."

    Luke Shirley on Twitter: "Kobayashi adds something to the grid. Hope he keeps drive but Perez has been a revelation this year, which only adds to the pressure."

  56. 1049: 

    Here's Andrew Benson's report and a video which cuts together some truly memorable Monza moments from Derek Warwick and Christian Fittipaldi both escaping unscathed from huge crashes to Damon Hill colliding with title rival Michael Schumacher in 1995 at the Variante della Roggia.

  57. 1046: 

    That's just about it from me. Michael Schumacher finished fastest, Fernando Alonso parks it up with suspected engine failure and Kimi Raikkonen tastes air as he launches his Lotus off the kerbs. Not bad for a practice session, eh?


    Bobby Saatchi on Twitter: "We gotta give props to Ma Qing Hua. He's been chipping away at the timings and is a respectable two seconds off De La Rosa."

  59. 1042: 

    Jerome d'Ambrosio, who is standing in for Romain Grosjean at Lotus, finished 1.1 seconds behind his team-mate Kimi Raikkonen. Over at HRT, Ma Qing Hua improved as the session went on, but ended up two seconds slower than his team-mate Pedro de la Rosa.


    Ferrari on Twitter: "It looks like and engine problem for Fernando, similar to what happened to Felipe in Spa."

  61. 1038: 

    Here's how they finished 1-12:

    1) Schumacher 2) Button 3) Rosberg 4) Alonso 5) Massa 6) Hamilton 7) Raikkonen 8) Perez 9) Webber 10) Maldonado 11) Vettel 12) Hulkenberg

  62. 1036: 

    Here's how they finished 13-24:

    13) Bottas 14) Kobayashi 15) D'Ambrosio 16) Bianchi 17) Ricciardo 18) Vergne 19) Kovalainen 20) Petrov 21) Pic 22) Glock 23) De la Rosa 24) Ma

  63. 1034: 

    BBC Radio 5 live commentator James Allen thinks McLaren are the team to beat here at Monza. Jenson Button finished second, his team-mate Lewis Hamilton sixth.

  64. 1032: 

    Most of the quick laps were set in the first half of the session as the teams switched their focus to longer runs for the final 45 minutes. Michael Schumacher finished three tenths quicker than Jenson Button who was 0.04 secs quicker than Nico Rosberg in the other Mercedes.

  65. 1030: 


  66. 1028: 

    Kimi Raikkonen launches his Lotus off the kerb on the inside to the second chicane and goes airborne before clattering back onto the track and bouncing across the kerbs on the other side. That was quite an impact for the underside of the car and will probably need a good looking at by the team when the Finn gets back to the garage.

  67. 1025: 

    Like London buses, you wait ages for one and then two come at once. Pastor Maldonado becomes the session's second retirement in as many minutes as he pulls off the track after coming through the second chicane. The DRS has been locked open which means he didn't hit the brakes before he pulled onto the grass. Maldonado wiggles the DRS to see if he can shut it manually, but has no success.

  68. 1023: 

    Fans rush down to the bottom of the grandstands at the first chicane because Fernando Alonso's Ferrari has ground to a halt on the escape road. James Allen and Gary Anderson muse that it could be a transmission problem as the championship leader climbs out of the car, drops his head and begins the short walk back to the pits.

  69. 1021: 

    Every car except for Ma Qing Hua is out on track now as the end of the session approaches....

    BBC F1 technical analyst Gary Anderson

    "Last year, the race was won on a soft, soft, medium tyre strategy. This year, we've got the medium and the hard so the tyres will be more durable and a one-stop strategy could be possible. I think many of the guys out there are doing long runs to test that theory."

  71. 1017: 

    It's been a while since we've seen an improvement in the times, but Kimi Raikkonen has done just that, lifting his Lotus into seventh, six tenths off the pace. Reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel is having less success in his Red Bull, though. The German misses the first chicane - not for the first time this morning - and is forced to back off and weave around the bollards on the escape road.

  72. 1012: 

    The fans have been treated to plenty of action this morning, with every driver completing at least 13 laps of running. That running will provide useful data for the engineers to sift through between sessions as they set-up the car for tomorrow's qualifying session and Sunday's race.


    Phillip Maddocks on Twitter: "I wonder if Lotus can use there double DRS system this weekend. Must provide a huge advantage around Monza!"

    They can, but they have chosen not to. The team have suggested it won't make an appearance until Suzuka in the Japanese Grand Prix on 7 October.

  74. 1008: 

    With just over 20 minutes to go, Michael Schumacher continues to lead the pace, 0.3 seconds quicker than anyone else. Jenson Button is second ahead of Nico Rosberg, Fernando Alonso, Felipe Massa, Lewis Hamilton, Sergio Perez and Mark Webber.

  75. 1004: 

    Romain Grosjean is strolling through the paddock towards the Lotus garage. Obviously, the Frenchman won't be racing this weekend after his race ban, but that's not stopped him coming to Monza and supporting the team.


    Elliott Ward on Twitter: "I hope Kamui stays, if not at Sauber at least in another mid-field team, maybe he could take Di Resta's seat if he's going elsewhere."

  77. 1000: 

    Nico Rosberg sets personal bests in all three sectors to go third quickest, three tenths slower than his Mercedes driver Michael Schumacher. That puts Mercedes-powered cars in the top three spots, with Jenson Button still sitting pretty in second.

  78. 0955: 

    BBC Radio 5 live commentator James Allen is currently discussing Kamui Kobayashi and his future at Sauber. Allen believes the Japanese driver is under pressure, which might explain him being vocal in his criticism of Romain Grosjean after the Frenchman ended his race in Spa. Kobayashi qualified a strong second in Belgium, but has otherwise struggled to match team-mate Sergio Perez, who has got two podiums this season, and faces a battle to hold onto his seat for next season.

    What do you think? Do you think Kobayashi is good enough to stay? Get involved using the #bbcf1 hashtag or text 81111 (UK only).


    Ferrari on Twitter: "A reasonable baseline for both drivers. Now we will work on some aero changes, mainly on Felipe's car, to test different configurations."

  80. 0951: 

    Just four seconds separate the top 23 drivers with Ma Qing Hua a further three seconds back in 24th. The Mercedes looks strong at the moment because there are plenty of long straights here, with Felipe Massa running his Ferrari team-mate Fernando Alonso close at the moment. They are running third and fourth fastest, 0.080 seconds separating them. The Red Bulls, meanwhile, are one second off the pace with Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel seventh and eighth.


    Karmen Legazpi on Twitter: "McLaren are looking very quick at this early stage of the weekend."

  82. 0948: 

    It's worth remembering that while each team's race drivers are the face of the team, behind the scenes, their test drivers are working hard back at the factory gathering data to help with set-up. McLaren's Gary Paffett for example has just tweeted to say he's back at the McLaren Technology Centre in Woking working in the simulator. "Doing race support for the guys at Monza," he said. "I always enjoy this circuit, very high speed and heavy braking."


    Ben Holland on Twitter: "Would be nice to see a Brit stay next to Jenson at McLaren, but Perez would be my choice, he's ready to challenge for title."

  84. 0945: 

    We've hit the half-way stage of qualifying, so now seems like a good time to give you a rundown of the current standings:

    1) Schumacher 2) Button 3) Alonso 4) Massa 5) Perez 6) Hamilton 7) Rosberg 8) Bottas 9) Hulkenberg 10) D'Ambrosio

  85. 0942: 

    The Ferrari flags are waving and air horns blaring as the Tifosi's hero Fernando Alonso crosses the lines to go quickest of all, setting purple times in the second and third sectors. But that time doesn't last long as Michael Schumacher - who enjoyed so much support here when he drove for Ferrari between 1996 and 2006 - sets two strong laps to go fastest, half-a-second quicker than anyone else.

  86. 0938: 

    Felipe Massa pops his Ferrari into second, 0.245 seconds slower than Lewis Hamilton with Nico Rosberg slotting into third, a few thousandths behind. Kimi Raikkonen looks like he's struggling to get that Lotus slowed down, out-braking himself at the first corner for the second time.

  87. 0936: 

    Lewis Hamilton goes even quicker on his next timed lap to extend his lead at the top, but expect that to change as Nico Rosberg, Jenson Button, Michael Schumacher and Fernando Alonso are out on track and running quickly.

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson at Monza:

    "Michael Schumacher has a bit of a shadow hanging over him here. He lost sixth gear in the closing stages of the Belgian Grand Prix, which damaged the internals of the gearbox. Team boss Ross Brawn said on Thursday that they did not expect to have to change it and incur a five-place grid penalty, but that message to Schumacher from his engineer to 'short-shift' is a reminder that he has to be careful with it for a little while."

  89. 0933: 

    Lewis Hamilton sets the fastest sector of all in the first and then personal bests in the second and third to go quickest of all, shaving 0.389 seconds off Kimi Raikkonen's previous best. Jerome D'Ambrosio has closed to within seven tenths of his Lotus team-mate in third with Jean-Eric Vergne and Felipe Massa completing the top five.

  90. 0931: 

    HRT's Ma Qing Hua takes another 1.5 seconds off his personal best to reduce the gap to Kimi Raikkonen to 6.9 seconds. It's all looking good for the Chinese driver, who is making his F1 debut here but will make way for Narain Karthikeyan after this session. Lewis Hamilton has just headed out of the garage. Let's see what he can do...

  91. 0928: 

    Jerome d'Ambrosio's first flier is decent but nothing special. The Belgian clocks 1:30.794, three seconds off the pace set by his Lotus team-mate Kimi Raikkonen. Plenty of time to improve, mind. This session will be all about clocking up the miles and getting comfortable in the car.

  92. 0925: 

    Kimi Raikkonen decides to stay out despite that mistake and clocks the fastest time of the day - 1:28.175, still five seconds off the pace set in this session last year. Moments later, Ma Qing Hua improves on his personal best by three seconds, but he's still a whopping eight seconds off Raikkonen's pace.

  93. 0922: 

    Kimi Raikkonen heads out on track in his Lotus and starts his first flying lap. However, the Finn gets it all wrong at the first chicane, out-braking himself and bouncing the car across the sleeping policemen and kerbs before rejoining the track. Messy.

  94. 0918: 

    The grandstands are looking packed for a Friday, which just shows you how much Italy loves Formula 1. Unfortunately, they've got nothing to look at for now as most drivers are out of the cars and twiddling their thumbs while their mechanics work on them and make tweaks...


    Sauber on Twitter: "Installation laps are done, we are changing brakes now, as usual."

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson at Monza:

    "No driver was more publicly cross about the first-corner shunt in Spa than Sauber's Kamui Kobayashi - and the fact that he was starting the race from his highest ever grid position in second probably explains his anger. Kobayashi said he felt Grosjean should have been banned for more than one race: 'One race I was really surprised. I expected more than one race he can be banned. What he has done in crashes this year so far, it's seven times had accident which is quite a lot because we only had 12 races. It's more than half. Included in that three times I had accident with him. It's not my fault. Always he crash with someone.'"

  97. 0914: 
    GET INVOLVED- The Lewis Hamilton debate

    Pete from Leighton Buzzard, via text: "Re: Hamilton move. It's Schumacher who holds the key in this situation. Even if he has already decided to retire, he won't be able to resist causing some mischief and upsetting his rivals along the way."

    Tony Lacey, via text: "Lewis Hamilton to stay at McLaren. They gave him the opportunity, he should repay with loyalty."

    Dominic in Essex, via text: "Does Hamilton to Mercedes definitely send Schumacher into retirement? How about a last hurrah back at his spiritual home of Ferrari as a replacement for Massa for 2013? Whatever happens hope that Di Resta gets a top drive for 2013!"

  98. 0910: 

    Just a reminder that you can listen to Ben Edwards, James Allen, Jennie Gow and Gary Anderson on web-only commentary by clicking on the promo on the top right of this page. If you're wondering why I've not included Jaime Alguersuari in that list, it's because the Spaniard has been off sick with a stomach bug but he's hoping to get to Monza later today.

  99. 0907: 

    Felipe Massa soon trims a few seconds off that time, getting his Ferrari - daubed in flourescent yellow flo-viz paint - around the turns of Monza in 1:28.370. Just the one flier for the Brazilian before he dives back into the pits. The track falls quiet as the teams working hard on the cars following their installation laps.

  100. 0904: 

    We've got our first timed lap already - and it's from none other than Lewis Hamilton. The McLaren driver clocks 1:31.028, around eight seconds slower than he managed when he topped the timesheets in this session here last year.

  101. 0902: 

    Jerome d'Ambrosio, the man who has stepped into Romain Grosjean's shoes at Lotus, has headed out nice and early to get his first taste of his new car and this demanding 5.793km track. He makes it round without any mistakes and then dives back into the garage.

  102. 0900: 
    GO! GO! GO!

    First practice for the Italian Grand Prix is go, go, go.

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson at Monza:

    "Aside from the amazing atmosphere at Monza, where so much has happened and the ghosts of the past haunt your every turn, the track itself presents a unique challenge. the long straights demand that the teams trim the cars out into ultra-low downforce specification for maximum top speed, but that means the cars are very skittish in the corners. That is a serious issue when you're trying to slow an F1 car down from 200mph+ to 50mph or so for the first and second chicanes. As Nico Rosberg put it: 'The car stops a lot less.' But there are also two quick corners in the 125mph Ascari chicane and the long loop of Parabolica at the end of the lap. It looks straightforward on the circuit map, but it's anything but."

    BBC Radio 5 live pit-lane reporter Jennie Gow

    "After the horror of Friday last week at Spa, which was so cold and so wet, this is a nice change. We've got blue skies and not a cloud to be seen anywhere."

  105. 0855: 
    GET INVOLVED- Lewis Hamilton - Should he stay or should he go?

    Rachel Hack on Twitter: "McLaren is the better team so for that Lewis should stay, but if he's not happy there he should go, happiness is important."

    Dan Kelly on Twitter: "Why would Hamilton go to Mercedes? McLaren have the better package and if it comes down to money he shouldn't be racing at all."

    Chris Palser-Thorne on Twitter: "If Lewis does move then what about @GaryPaffett...I hope to see him have a seat soon!"

    Get involved using the #bbcf1 hashtag on Twitter.

  106. 0852: 

    We'll see a little bit of history being made today when Ma Qing Hua takes to the track and becomes the first Chinese driver to take part in a race weekend. The 24-year-old reigning Chinese Touring Car champion replaces Narain Karthikeyan at HRT for the first 90-minute session having completed enough mileage at the young driver test at Silverstone in July to obtain his FIA super licence.

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson at Monza:

    "Romain Grosjean's ban means an opportunity for Lotus's reserve driver Jerome d'Ambrosio to make a name for himself as Kimi Raikkonen's team-mate this weekend. The Belgian, who drove for Virgin (now Marussia) last season, revealed that this is sort of a home race for him - his grandfather was from Naples. He is being thrown in at the deep end somewhat, having only driven it in the wet at the Mugello test in April. 'Obviously it's been short notice, so it's been a hectic week for me at the factory getting stuff done,' he said. 'I haven't had time to think about anything really. I have been training, that's the job of the third driver, to be ready of something like this happens.'"

  108. 0848: 

    There was plenty of chat about the weather during the Belgian Grand Prix weekend, with the Ardennes forest notorious for its unpredictable climate - however, a look at the weather radar for Monza suggests the fans will need only worry about the factor of sun cream and not about whether they'll need wellies or an umbrella.

    Yep, beautiful blue skies greet the teams today - with similar conditions expected all weekend. That means we should have plenty of action in today's 90-minute sessions - unlike at Spa - with the first getting under way at 09:00 BST - and then second at 13:00.

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson at Monza:

    "The Formula 1 field has one of this year's central figures missing this weekend, following the decision by the stewards in Belgium last weekend to ban Lotus driver Romain Grosjean for this race for causing the frightening first-lap pile-up. Sympathy for the Frenchman has been in short supply. A few drivers, including world champion Sebastian Vettel, called the ban 'harsh' but his team-mate Mark Webber felt 'something brewing… and that was probably the straw that broke the camel's back'."

  110. 0845: 

    While Jenson Button glided away from pole position at Spa, all hell broke loose behind him as Romain Grosjean hit Lewis Hamilton and then narrowly missed Fernando Alonso's head as his out-of-control Lotus flew through the air at La Source. The Sauber's of Sergio Perez and Kamui Kobayashi were also innocent victims in the pile-up.

    The Frenchman - who has been involved in seven first-lap crashes in 12 races this season - was punished with a 50,000 euro (£40,000) fine and a one-race ban. That means Belgian Jerome d'Ambrosio - unimaginatively nicknamed 'custard' by his Virgin team when he completed his one and only F1 season with them last year - will race in his place alongside Kimi Raikkonen.

  111. 0842: 

    McLaren's Jenson Button had the perfect weekend at Spa last Sunday, getting the car perfectly set-up to his liking to take his second win of the season. It was a stunning drive from the 2009 world champion who looked down and out in the title race before a trip through the Belgian Ardennes forest. Can the Briton keep the momentum rolling at Monza - a track where he has finished second on his last three trips to the venue?

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson at Monza:

    "An amused bystander as Lewis Hamilton was being quizzed on his future was Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, sitting beside him. The world championship leader's smile got broader and broader as the inquisition continued, journalists trying different ways of getting Hamilton to divulge at least some information. Alonso still has a 24-point (almost a win) championship lead despite being caught up in the first-corner shunt at Spa last weekend. He seemed calm enough but pointed out that he does not expect miracles at Ferrari's home race. 'In terms of performance we have not been so quick in the last two or three grands prix,' he said. 'It was 0.8secs in Hungary and Spa, it is five days since that race and I don't think we can recover 0.8secs but hopefully we can extract the maximum and hope everything goes well. A victory here is very special and we will try to do our best.'"


    Rachel Bailey on Twitter: "Monzaaaaaaa! I'm very lucky to have Fridays off work. Means I can watch F1 practice sessions!"

  114. 0839: 
    GET INVOLVED- Lewis Hamilton - McLaren or Mercedes?

    So let's hear it then. What do you think of the Lewis Hamilton to Mercedes chat? Should he go? Will he go? If he does join Nico Rosberg at Mercedes, that sends Michael Schumacher into retirement and opens up a seat next to Jenson Button at McLaren. EJ thinks Paul di Resta is best placed to fill it. Do you agree? Who else would you like to see partner Button? Get involved by tweeting us using the #bbcf1 hashtag or text 81111 (UK only), remembering to sign them with your name.

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson at Monza:

    "There's no doubt who was the centre of attention on Thursday. McLaren's Lewis Hamilton was always going to be in the spotlight after his difficult time in Belgium last weekend, when he tweeted a picture of confidential team information and then was involved in a first-corner crash. Then on Wednesday, Eddie Jordan predicted on this website that Hamilton was on the move to Mercedes next season. Unsurprisingly, Hamilton was in no mood to share his plans with the world. Also unsurprisingly, he contradicted himself, as he tends to do, telling the official news conference: 'I want to win. Just need to think of the right place to do so.' And then saying to TV reporters: 'Nothing has been signed and we are in advanced negotiations with McLaren. That's what we're working on.' Make of that what you will."

  116. 0836: 

    Monza is usually always about Ferrari and whether their drivers can cope with the enormous expectation heaped onto their shoulders from their home crowd. Unfortunately Lewis Hamilton has overshadowed the Italian team's homecoming with talk he is set to ditch McLaren - the team which has nursed him through the various formulae and then into F1 - for Mercedes...

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson at Monza:

    "What many have called one of the best Formula 1 seasons in memory is in the middle of a series of races that probably make up its best section. Five days after taking on the stunning sweeps of Spa, the drivers this morning take to the venerable old Monza autodromo, a place where history seeps out of the concrete and passion for the sport is palpable at every turn. The royal park at Monza is a glorious place to be in the early morning sunshine, with the Alps just visible in the distance, and all is set for a fantastic weekend's sport in one of the world's greatest arenas."

  118. 0833: 

    Buongiorno and a very warm welcome to coverage of first practice for the Italian Grand Prix at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza. The event is the last leg of the European season before the teams prepare to go long haul for the remaining seven races in 10 weekends, culminating in the Brazilian Grand Prix on 25 November. Just think of the air miles...

  119. 0830: 

    When Monza opened its gates this morning, thousands of passionate and devoted Italian fans flooded into the venue, engulfing the legendary track in a sea of red. Better known as the Tifosi, the home fans only have eyes for one team - Ferrari - and they're not afraid to voice their support to create a partisan atmosphere. Fernando Alonso may have been taken out at the first corner in Belgium, but he retains the lead of the world championship and an expectant crowd will hope - no, expect - him to guide his Italian scarlet machine to victory on Sunday.

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Formula 1 World Championship 2014

Position Driver Team Pts
1 Great Britain L Hamilton Mercedes 384
2 Germany N Rosberg Mercedes 317
3 Australia D Ricciardo Red Bull 238
4 Finland V Bottas Williams 186
5 Germany S Vettel Red Bull 167
6 Spain F Alonso Ferrari 161
7 Brazil F Massa Williams 134
8 Great Britain J Button McLaren 126
9 Germany N Hulkenberg Force India 96
10 Mexico S Perez Force India 59
11 Denmark K Magnussen McLaren 55
12 Finland K Raikkonen Ferrari 55
13 France J Vergne Toro Rosso 22
14 France R Grosjean Lotus 8
15 Russia D Kvyat Toro Rosso 8
16 Venezuela P Maldonado Lotus 2
18 Germany A Sutil Sauber 0
20 Mexico E Gutierrez Sauber 0
22 Japan K Kobayashi Caterham 0
23 W Stevens Caterham 0


After 60 of 61 laps
Position Driver Team

Race stopped at 60 laps

1 Great Britain L Hamilton Mercedes
2 Germany S Vettel Red Bull
3 Australia D Ricciardo Red Bull
4 Spain F Alonso Ferrari
5 Brazil F Massa Williams
6 France J Vergne Toro Rosso
7 Mexico S Perez Force India
8 Finland K Raikkonen Ferrari
9 Germany N Hulkenberg Force India
10 Denmark K Magnussen McLaren
11 Finland V Bottas Williams
12 Venezuela P Maldonado Lotus
13 France R Grosjean Lotus
14 Russia D Kvyat Toro Rosso
15 Sweden M Ericsson Caterham
16 France J Bianchi Marussia
17 Great Britain M Chilton Marussia
18 Great Britain J Button (ret.) McLaren
19 Germany A Sutil (ret.) Sauber
20 Mexico E Gutierrez (ret.) Sauber
21 Germany N Rosberg (ret.) Mercedes
22 Japan K Kobayashi (ret.) Caterham