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Monza day one - Hamilton stakes his claim in Italy 29 Aug 2007

Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren Mercedes MP4/22 Formula One Testing, Day One, Monza, Italy, 28 August 2007.  World © Patching/Sutton Jarno Trulli (ITA) Toyota TF107 Formula One Testing, Day One, Monza, Italy, 28 August 2007. World © Patching/Sutton Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR02 Formula One Testing, Day One, Monza, Italy, 28 August 2007. World © Patching/Sutton Kazuki Nakajima (JPN) Williams Toyota FW29 Formula One Testing, Day One, Monza, Italy, 28 August 2007. World © Patching/Sutton James Rossiter (GBR) Super Aguri F1 Team test driver. Formula One Testing, Day One, Monza, Italy, 28 August 2007. World © Patching/Sutton

McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton was the quickest man in Monza on Tuesday as testing got underway in preparation for the Italian Grand Prix. Hamilton’s best was a lap of 1m 24.112s - just over two tenths of a second faster than the Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen.

Although the forecast showers eventually arrived in the late afternoon, most of the runners enjoyed a productive session in bright sunshine. Hamilton's time came despite being limited to 53 laps after a CV joint failure on his MP4-22 interrupted his programme.

Nevertheless, the British driver managed to carry out a low-downforce evaluation and began a tyre evaluation for next month’s race. Hamilton will continue to test on Wednesday morning before handing over to team mate Fernando Alonso in the afternoon.

Raikkonen, meanwhile, covered 60 laps for Ferrari as he concentrated on finding the best the set-up for his F2007 and evaluated several aerodynamic additions which have been designed specifically for the low-downforce track. He will continue to test on Wednesday.

Third fastest was BMW Sauber’s Nick Heidfeld, who completed 76 laps. Heidfeld focused on testing the team’s low-downforce aero package, which included a new front and rear wing for the F1.07.

Just behind the German was Toyota's Jarno Trulli. After the team solved an early electronic issue, Trulli concentrated on the TF107’s baseline set-up and covered 61 laps.

“The car has quite a ‘light’ feel at Monza because you run with the bare minimum of aerodynamic downforce because so much of the track is flat-out,” explained the Italian. “In general we got through a decent amount of work on the set-up today before the rain came at the end of the day. We worked on the tyres and brakes and I was am happy with progress.”

Fifth fastest was the Williams of tester Kazuki Nakajima, who completed 98 laps during a trouble-free day for the British team. Nakajima finished just over two-hundredths up on the sixth-placed Toro Rosso of Sebastian Vettel. It was the first time that new-signing Vettel had tested for the Italian squad and the 20 year-old carried out general set-up evaluations and brake work.

Just over two-tenths down on Vettel’s STR2 was Renault tester Nelson Piquet Jr, who finished the session seventh fastest. Piquet was charged with testing the French team’s 2008 electronic set-up. The Brazilian completed several long runs before the threat of rain forced the team to switch to work for the Italian race.

“Our programme went off with any hitches, and we've recorded interesting data on our first day's testing in 2008 configuration,” explained Renault’s chief test engineer, Christian Silk. “The car was reliable and the new on-board electronic systems worked without any problems so we managed to cover a lot of laps. In the late afternoon we began our preparation for next week's race as we're afraid that track conditions will worsen from tomorrow onwards.”

Honda’s Rubens Barrichello clocked the eight-fastest time as he kicked off the Japanese team’s three-day programme. Barrichello focused on establishing a good set-up for the RA107 and completed 85 laps before the showers arrived in the afternoon. Tester Christian Klien will take charge of driving duties on Wednesday.

Completing the Tuesday line-up was the Red Bull of Mark Webber, ninth, and the Super Aguri of tester James Rossiter in tenth. Both drivers carried out aero work, but with an electrical failure limiting Webber to 64 laps, Rossiter was the more productive.

Testing continues at Monza on Wednesday, although rain has again been forecast and could severely limit running.

Unofficial Tuesday testing times from Monza:
1. Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, 1:24.112
2. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 1:24.258
3. Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber, 1:24.277
4. Jarno Trulli, Toyota, 1:24.523
5. Kazuki Nakajima, Williams, 1:25.052
6. Sebastian Vettel, Toro Rosso, 1:25.106
7. Nelson Piquet Jr, Renault, 1:25.360
8. Rubens Barrichello, Honda, 1:25.377
9. Mark Webber, Red Bull, 1:25.427
10. James Rossiter, Super Aguri, 1:25.548