The 27-year-old showed few after-effects from the opening lap crash that wrecked his race last Sunday, when the 2008 world champion was also embarrassed by having to remove various ill-judged ‘Tweets’ containing team information, by outpacing McLaren team-mate and compatriot Jenson Button.
Hamilton, linked with a possible move to Mercedes next year, clocked a fastest lap of one minute and 25.290 seconds while Button was just behind him with 1:25.325, a narrow gap that endorsed the overall advantage of the McLaren team ahead of their rivals.
These were led by the two Ferraris of Spanish two-time champion Fernando Alonso and Brazilian Felipe Massa who gave a sparse crowd at the old Autodromo Nazionale something to cheer with a show of speed that promised more than it proved.
It was, alas, a troubled day for Alonso who suffered an engine failure in the morning session when German veteran Michael Schumacher topped the times for Mercedes and then endured brake and gearbox problems in the afternoon.
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