Button leads opening Italian GP practice

Jenson Button was fastest in the opening practice session for the Italian GP, and McLaren and Red Bull lived up to the favorites billing while Ferrari lagged behind.

By (AP)

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Published: Fri 10 Sep 2010, 3:59 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 4:54 AM

Button’s lap of 1 minute, 23.693 seconds around the Monza circuit in his McLaren was one-tenth of a second faster than Red Bull counterpart Sebastian Vettel. Overall Formula One leader Lewis Hamilton was third for McLaren, which exhibited a larger rear wing on its car.

Mark Webber of Red Bull was sixth, and Ferrari pair Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa were eighth and ninth, respectively. Alonso, who said his hopes of winning a third championship could be decided on his results in Monza and in Singapore, was nearly nine-tenths off the pace as the Italian team’s drivers complained of a lack of grip.

Both McLaren and Red Bull are expected to challenge for victory at the low-downforce, high-speed track after Hamilton led Webber in a 1-2 finish at the Belgian GP’s Spa circuit, which holds similar characteristics to Monza.

Hamilton leads Webber by three points going into Sunday’s 53-lap race, while third-place Vettel is 31 points behind the leader. Vettel, Button and Alonso are separated by only 10 points.

Practice continues through Saturday, when qualifying for the season’s last European race is held.

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