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Italian GP practice reactions: McLaren-Mercedes

Lewis Hamilton – 2nd:

"I'm pleased with our progress. It's always a little nerve-wracking when you arrive at a unique circuit such as this because you want to see if you've taken the right direction with the car's aerodynamics. But this morning's session showed us that the engineers had made a very accurate assessment of what would be needed. KERS certainly helps around here – we can expect it to be worth nearly four tenths in qualifying tomorrow – but we also made some good progress with our overall package. This afternoon was spent on heavier fuel-loads, so you can't read too much into the times, but I'm encouraged by where we are."

Heikki Kovalainen – 5th:

"At Monza, you're always facing the problem of balancing overall downforce with grip through the corners – and I think today was possibly better than we anticipated. We're quicker in the corners than we were last year, which is good. The KERS advantage here is nearly four tenths per lap so it's really helpful along the straights and out of the slower corners. Others have more downforce compared with us, but we have this fantastic KERS from Mercedes-Benz. It's funny: the teams have all adopted different technical solutions but the laptimes are still very close together – that's the beauty of Formula 1."

Martin Whitmarsh - team principal (McLaren-Mercedes):

"A disciplined day's work for the team today as we evaluated our low-downforce Monza aero components and looked at tyre performance on heavier fuel loads. We're encouraged by the results of today's programme, but are fully aware that all teams will be making substantial changes overnight and, equally, we'll need to further adapt our cars ahead of qualifying. Nonetheless, we're encouraged by the direction we've taken and the results we've seen in both of today's sessions."

Norbert Haug - vice-president, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport:

"Two good and productive sessions for us today. As we've all learned over the course of this season, the field is very tight. Heikki in fourth is separated from Giancarlo Fisichella in 20th position by just over a second, and all 20 cars are within 1.6 seconds. Our long runs on high fuel loads looked quite promising compared with our competitors, but I seriously think there are a handful of teams who can compete for pole tomorrow."

Related Pictures

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Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren MP4-24, German F1 Grand Prix, Nurburgring, 10-12th, July 2009

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