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F1 Italian Grand Prix: Hamilton heads Button in FP1

Lewis Hamilton was comfortably fastest during the opening practice session for the Italian Grand Prix as Jenson Button was second quickest
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Lewis Hamilton was comfortably fastest during the opening practice session for the Italian Grand Prix as Jenson Button was second quickest.

Hamilton's time of 1:26.187 left him over half a second clear of Button – with McLaren looking strong on a circuit expected to suit Mercedes-powered teams – and more than 0.8s ahead of team-mate Nico Rosberg. Fernando Alonso was fourth fastest for Ferrari but the only other car within a second of Hamilton's time.

Kevin Magnussen backed up Button's time by finishing the session in fifth place, just ahead of Sebastian Vettel who was the highest Renault-powered car. Red Bull team-mate Daniel Ricciardo – winner of the last two grands prix – hit trouble midway through the session as he was informed by the radio of an issue which caused him to pit and limited him to just 12 laps.

Kimi Raikkonen ended the session in seventh place ahead of Sergio Perez, Daniil Kvyat and Nico Hulkenberg. It was a busy session for Force India as Dani Juncadella drove for the first half hour of the session and completed ten laps before handing the car back to Perez, who was only able to emerge in the final 25 minutes as a result.

It was a quiet start to the weekend for Williams, with Valtteri Bottas only setting the 12th fastest time just ahead of Felipe Massa in 13th place. Massa was one of many drivers to make a mistake searching for the braking point at Turn 1 as he ran wide and bounced over the kerbs rather than taking to the escape road.

The Della Roggia chicane at turns 4 and 5 was also catching out drivers, with both Hamilton and Rosberg having to make use of the wide tarmac run-off area having outbraked themselves. The Ascari chicane retains a gravel trap and saw Perez bouncing through it late in the session having struggled to slow his Force India, but he was able to continue without damage.

Roberto Merhi delivered an impressive performance on his FP1 debut for Caterham, beating team-mate Marcus Ericsson by over 0.2s. He was the only replacement driver to beat their team-mate but his Caterham was over half a second slower than Charles Pic, who was making an appearance in place of Romain Grosjean at Lotus.

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