Fernando & Jenson share spoils on disjointed day
Posted by Simon Wright
AS IN Barcelona two weeks ago, it was Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button who shared the spoils of ending up fastest in the first two practice sessions for a Grand Prix. Alonso set the pace for Ferrari by nearly half a second in FP1 and Button managed to squeeze in a run on the super soft tyre in the afternoon session on a disjointed opening day of the Monaco Grand Prix meeting. Sunday’s race is likely to be decided by qualifying positions and once again, durability of the Pirelli tyre compound and little was given away today.
This is because all the teams were affected by the lack of dry running. Persistent rain showers in the second practice session meant Monaco looked more like Britain did in April. The weather gods seem to have given us in the UK the traditional weather at the moment reserved for Monte Carlo in late May! Despite the lack of dry running, Lewis Hamilton has an inklin of who will be setting the frontrunning pace at the weekend. He told formula1.com; “I think today we got a bit of an understanding of how quick people are. The Lotus looks pretty quick and I am not quite sure what Red Bull is up to. Ferrari looks fast and so do we. So first you have the usual suspects, but we have seen before that it would be dead wrong to underestimate all others.”
Hamilton was impressed by Lotus and it looked like the Enstone team have the most consistent and best handling car so far around the Princiapality. Romain Grosjean put in a string of fastest laps together in the first practice session and ended an impressive second in both sessions. Grosjean has a good record from his GP2 days and has to be considered as a contender, providing he keeps it clean for the rest of the weekend. He said afterwards to BBC Sport; “I like Monaco. I like the track; it’s good fun. The car is going well at the moment and let’s see what we can do later on. It is important to have a car you are confident with.” Team-mate Kimi Raikkonen had a very frustrating day, failing to set a time in the first session after the team made a steering rack adjustment in the pits that didn’t go to plan. With just an installation lap under his belt, the rain wrecked Raikkonen’s hopes in FP2 and he is now playing catch-up going into Saturday’s sessions.
The Ferrari looks mighty and had much better aerodynamic and mechanical grip, which was a clear weakness in the early season races. Alonso is a double winner around here and can’t be counted out at whatever cost. He set the pace in the first session, which was held under bright blue skies. Under fire Felipe Massa had a much better day today, finishing sixth and third in the two sessions. His car seemed to still be a handful and a little kiss with the wall in FP1 at Tabac allowed race engineer Rob Smedley to produce another of his great soundbites on the team radio; “A kiss is needed in Monaco, you need to do a nice kiss!”
There was only 20 minutes of dry running in FP2 and Button had the time to see how the super soft tyre would work. Trailing by 16 points in the championship, Jenson will be keen to make up for a difficult time in both Bahrain and Spain and his afternoon time of 1.15.746 was the fastest of the day. Only the Sauber drivers and Pastor Maldonado managed time on the super soft tyre before the heavens opened in the afternoon and none of those three looked to have the pace Button did on a single lap.
World champions Red Bull continue to be a mystery as neither Sebastian Vettel or Mark Webber looked like challenging the top times. Seventh for Webber in FP2 was their best effort today and if the Milton Keynes team isn’t lucky, they could be looking at another mediocre weekend.
As ever, Monaco caught many drivers out with Mirabeau being a real handful in the damp conditions. Massa, Sergio Perez and both Williams drivers were caught out, although none hit the barriers. The Nouvelle chicane saw many cars cut part of it off as they tested the braking limits of their cars; Narain Karthikeyan being a notable offender for HRT. The first session was also brought to an unscheduled early end when Heikki Kovalainen’s Caterham Renault engine blew up spectacularly in the tunnel, dumping contents of oil and coming to a halt on the tunnel exit.
It was a day where little could be judged on prestigious pace and only in FP3 should it remain dry can we begin to see who are the genuine contenders for pole position in qualifying.
2012 MONACO GRAND PRIX FREE PRACTICE ONE CLASSIFICATION
|2||ROMAIN GROSJEAN||LOTUS RENAULT||17||1.16.630|
|3||SERGIO PEREZ||SAUBER FERRARI||19||1.16.711|
|4||LEWIS HAMILTON||MCLAREN MERCEDES||12||1.16.747|
|5||PASTOR MALDONADO||WILLIAMS RENAULT||20||1.16.760|
|7||KAMUI KOBAYASHI||SAUBER FERRARI||21||1.17.038|
|8||JENSON BUTTON||MCLAREN MERCEDES||13||1.17.190|
|9||SEBASTIAN VETTEL||RED BULL RACING RENAULT||14||1.17.222|
|10||NICO ROSBERG||MERCEDES GP||18||1.17.261|
|11||MICHAEL SCHUMACHER||MERCEDES GP||14||1.17.413|
|12||NICO HULKENBERG||FORCE INDIA MERCEDES||18||1.17.631|
|13||MARK WEBBER||RED BULL RACING RENAULT||14||1.18.106|
|14||JEAN-ERIC VERGNE||STR FERRARI||25||1.18.209|
|15||DANIEL RICCIARDO||STR FERRARI||28||1.18.252|
|16||PAUL DI RESTA||FORCE INDIA MERCEDES||16||1.18.302|
|17||BRUNO SENNA||WILLIAMS RENAULT||20||1.18.617|
|18||HEIKKI KOVALAINEN||CATERHAM RENAULT||20||1.19.039|
|19||VITALY PETROV||CATERHAM RENAULT||16||1.19.341|
|20||NARAIN KARTHIKEYAN||HRT COSWORTH||26||1.20.838|
|21||CHARLES PIC||MARUSSIA COSWORTH||18||1.20.895|
|22||TIMO GLOCK||MARUSSIA COSWORTH||9||1.21.638|
|23||PEDRO DE LA ROSA||HRT COSWORTH||15||1.22.423|
|24||KIMI RAIKKONEN||LOTUS RENAULT||1||NO TIME|
2012 MONACO GRAND PRIX FREE PRACTICE TWO CLASSIFICATION
|1||JENSON BUTTON||MCLAREN MERCEDES||17||1.15.746|
|2||ROMAIN GROSJEAN||LOTUS RENAULT||19||1.16.138|
|5||PASTOR MALDONADO||WILLIAMS RENAULT||20||1.16.820|
|6||NICO ROSBERG||MERCEDES GP||15||1.17.021|
|7||MARK WEBBER||RED BULL RACING RENAULT||23||1.17.148|
|8||KAMUI KOBAYASHI||SAUBER FERRARI||22||1.17.153|
|9||MICHAEL SCHUMACHER||MERCEDES GP||11||1.17.293|
|10||SEBASTIAN VETTEL||RED BULL RACING RENAULT||21||1.17.303|
|11||LEWIS HAMILTON||MCLAREN MERCEDES||19||1.17.375|
|12||PAUL DI RESTA||FORCE INDIA MERCEDES||21||1.17.395|
|13||BRUNO SENNA||WILLIAMS RENAULT||18||1.17.655|
|14||NICO HULKENBERG||FORCE INDIA MERCEDES||25||1.17.800|
|15||SERGIO PEREZ||SAUBER FERRARI||24||1.18.251|
|16||VITALY PETROV||CATERHAM RENAULT||25||1.18.440|
|17||JEAN-ERIC VERGNE||STR FERRARI||22||1.18.522|
|18||DANIEL RICCIARDO||STR FERRARI||26||1.18.808|
|19||KIMI RAIKKONEN||LOTUS RENAULT||25||1.19.267|
|20||TIMO GLOCK||MARUSSIA COSWORTH||29||1.19.309|
|21||HEIKKI KOVALAINEN||CATERHAM RENAULT||13||1.20.029|
|22||CHARLES PIC||MARUSSIA COSWORTH||21||1.20.240|
|23||PEDRO DE LA ROSA||HRT COSWORTH||12||1.20.631|
|24||NARAIN KARTHIKEYAN||HRT COSWORTH||10||1.20.866|
About Simon WrightHello, I am Simon, 23 and studying a BA Hons in Journalism (3rd and final year) at the University of Northampton.
Posted on May 24, 2012, in Practice Reports and tagged Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, heikki kovalainen, jenson button, Lewis Hamilton, Lotus, Mirabeau, Monaco, Renault, Romain Grosjean. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.