By Paul Logothetis, AP
MONZA, Italy — Toyota’s Timo Glock was fastest before rain washed out the final practice session ahead of qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix on Saturday. The German driver timed 1 minute, 35.464 seconds around the 5.793-kilometer (3.6-mile) Monza circuit. Heavy rain then washed out practice for the second time in two days. Rain is expected to continue in qualifying and for Sunday’s race, conditions which could favor F1 leader Lewis Hamilton who has already won two rain-affected races this season. Last week, a post-race driving penalty cost the 23-year-old McLaren driver victory at the Belgian GP.
The rain Saturday had cars constantly slipping off a track overflowing with water, forcing teams back to their garages with half of the 60-minute session still to run. Some drivers re-emerged for one lap before the close of the session but finished off the leading pace. The first of Friday’s two practice sessions were initially washed out before Kimi Raikkonen topped the times soon after Ferrari announced it had signed the defending world champion to a one-year extension through 2010. Glock was nearly 12 seconds slower Saturday than Raikkonen was on Friday. Toro Rosso’s Sebastian Vettel was second quickest on Saturday with a best lap of 1:36.129, ahead of Nico Rosberg of Williams. Hamilton leads Ferrari’s Felipe Massa by two points in the drivers’ standings with five races left.