Monza: McLaren lead early

Sebastian Vettel found the funny side of his championship handicap on Friday as his rivals sped around the Monza circuit in Friday morning practice.

Because he is running out of his season's allocation of eight Renault power plants, the Red Bull driver is severely limiting his practice mileage prior to grands prix.

At Monza his mere 8 timed laps, nearly 20 laps below the average, left him two seconds and 17 places behind the pace set by the KERS-equipped McLarens.

But to show he is at least keeping occupied, the German sat at the back of his garage alternatively reading a novel, penciling answers into a crossword and playing the numbers puzzle Sudoku.

"Some of that is for the benefit of the reporters here," team boss Christian Horner told the BBC. "He's got a wicked sense of humor — you'll have to hear his Kimi Raikkonen impression one day."

The session was also less than ideal for championship leader Jenson Button, seventh fastest and with some burning damage at the rear of his car following a flash fire.

Even the pacesetter Lewis Hamilton had a slight issue when the fuel flap fell off his Mercedes-powered car.

Giancarlo Fisichella was near the bottom of the times for much of his first session in a Ferrari, but ultimately he slipped even in front of the sister F60 to take eighth place.

Tonio Liuzzi also had a tidy debut in the Force India, but he was off the pace of his teammate Adrian Sutil who was beaten for pace only by the McLarens.

The slowest cars in practice were the inconsistent Toyotas, and Timo Glock had the most notable incident when he bounced and spun over the chicane's new high curbs.



Driver Team Time Behind Laps
1. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:23.936 +0.000 26
2. Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes 1:24.332 +0.396 27
3. Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1:24.471 +0.535 24
4. Alonso Renault 1:24.477 +0.541 21
5. Heidfeld BMW-Sauber 1:24.683 +0.747 25
6. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:24.703 +0.767 35
7. Button Brawn-Mercedes 1:24.706 +0.770 21
8. Fisichella Ferrari 1:24.732 +0.796 24
9. Webber Red Bull-Renault 1:24.759 +0.823 19
10. Raikkonen Ferrari 1:24.761 +0.825 26
11. Kubica BMW-Sauber 1:24.813 +0.877 20
12. Barrichello Brawn-Mercedes 1:24.826 +0.890 24
13. Rosberg Williams-Toyota 1:24.927 +0.991 29
14. Nakajima Williams-Toyota 1:25.150 +1.214 28
15. Grosjean Renault 1:25.612 +1.676 18
16. Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 1:25.689 +1.753 29
17. Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:25.742 +1.806 30
18. Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1:25.951 +2.015 8
19. Trulli Toyota 1:26.020 +2.084 23
20. Glock Toyota 1:26.325 +2.389 17

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