ANOTHER 1-2: Mercedes' driver Nico Rosberg topped the second practice session with Lewis Hamilton right on his tail. Image: AFP / Ben Stansall
MONZA, Italy - Electrical gremlins held up Lewis Hamilton in Italian GP practice on Friday after the Mercedes driver had lapped more than half a second quicker than anybody else in the morning session.
The Briton, who retired from the race in Belgium 12 days earlier after team mate and championship leader Nico Rosberg hit the back of his car, missed an hour of the afternoon running as mechanics replaced sensors on his car.
Hamilton was still fastest overall on the day, with a best time of 1min26.187 set before lunch. Rosberg was top of the afternoon time sheets with a best of 1min26.225.
Jenson Button, Hamilton's former team mate at McLaren, was second-fastest in the morning with 1min26.810 with Rosberg - who has never been on the Monza podium - pushed back to third in 1min26.995.
Hamilton is 29 points behind Rosberg in the championship with seven races remaining and is determined to claw his way back against his German rival, who was punished by the team for the Spa collision.
Ferrari's Fernando Alonso was fourth-fastest in each session with Williams' Valtteri Bottas fifth in second practice after a quiet morning. Button was sixth for McLaren, who last won a race in 2012.
Red Bull's four-times F1 champion Sebastian Vettel, 2013's winner at the 'cathedral' of Italian motorsport, was sixth and seventh while Australian team mate Daniel Ricciardo was 16th and 10th.
Ricciardo, as good as Italian to many of the home fans and chasing his third win in a row, was sidelined for some of the first session with a power-unit problem.
At the slow end of the field, Spanish driver Roberto Merhi made his debut appearance at a Formula 1 weekend and lapped faster than regular race driver Marcus Ericsson in the other Caterham.
Merhi handed the car back to Japanese Kamui Kobayashi, returning after being dropped by the team for Spa, for the afternoon and rest of the weekend.
Spanish reserve driver Daniel Juncadella also had a stint for Force India while Frenchman Charles Pic was handed compatriot Romain Grosjean's Lotus for the session.
Second free-practice times
1 Nico Rosberg (Germany) Mercedes 1min26.225
2 Lewis Hamilton (Britain) Mercedes 1min26.286
3 Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) Ferrari 1min26.331
4 Fernando Alonso (Spain) Ferrari 1min26.565
5 Valtteri Bottas (Finland) Williams-Mercedes 1min26.758
6 Jenson Button (Britain) McLaren 1min26.762
7 Sebastian Vettel (Germany) Red Bull - Renault 1min26.762
8 Kevin Magnussen (Denmark) McLaren 1min26.881
9 Felipe Massa (Brazil) Williams-Mercedes 1min26.935
10 Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) Red Bull - Renault 1min26.992
11 Sergio Perez (Mexico) Force India - Mercedes 1min27.079
12 Nico Hulkenberg (Germany) Force India - Mercedes 1min27.227
13 Daniil Kvyat (Russia) Toro Rosso - Renault 1min27.476
14 Esteban Gutierrez (Mexico) Sauber - Ferrari 1min27.840
15 Jean-Eric Vergne (France) Toro Rosso - Renault 1min27.929
16 Adrian Sutil (Germany) Sauber - Ferrari 1min28.029
17 Jules Bianchi (France) Marussia - Ferrari 1min28.659
18 Pastor Maldonado (Venezuela) Lotus - Renault 1min28.700
19 Max Chilton (Britain) Marussia - Ferrari 1min28.786
20 Romain Grosjean (France) Lotus - Renault 1min29.085
21 Kamui Kobayashi (Japan) Caterham - Renault 1min29.178
22 Marcus Ericsson (Sweden) Caterham - Renault 1min29.275