Hamilton eyes Monza pole

Lewis Hamilton is in with a shout of pole position in qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix on Saturday thanks to his KERS device, which he says is worth almost half a second at Monza.

The McLaren driver topped the timesheets in the first practice session on Friday and ran strongly in the afternoon on race fuel.

Heikki Kovalainen confirmed the underlying pace of the MP4-24 at the high-speed circuit by pacing second and fourth quickest in the two sessions.

Both Hamilton and Kovalainen will benefit from their KERS device in qualifying since it can be deployed twice on the start/finish straight as the energy is replenished at the end of each lap.

“I m pleased with our progress,” said Hamilton. “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.”

Ferrari and Renault will also benefit from KERS in Monza.