Monaco GP - Thursday - Practice Session 1 Report

Alonso leads the way as Hamilton hits trouble

Fernando Alonso

Fernando Alonso 

 © The Cahier Archive

The first practice session for the Monaco Grand Prix saw Fernando Alonso set the fastest time with a lap of 1m16.973s. His McLaren team-mate Lewis Hamilton had been ahead early in the session but was then sidelined with a problem when the shaft of the external starter broke, which that meant the team had to remove the back of the gearbox to extract pieces of debris to avoid further problems. As a result of this Hamilton completed just 14 laps while Alonso did 32. The gap between the two men was six-tenths of a second, but significantly the two were still both ahead of the nearest challenger, which on this occasion was the BMW of Nick Heidfeld.

Fourth quickest was Giancarlo Fisichella in his Renault but he ended his session with five minutes to go when he braked too late at Ste Devote and went into the tyre barriers, damaging the front for the car. Kimi Raikkonen was fifth for Ferrari ahead of Mark Webber, but the Red Bull driver was also in trouble when he tagged the barriers at Ste Devote with the rear of his car and ended up with a broken wheel rim.

Seventh overall was Nico Rosberg in the Williams ahead of Felipe Massa's Ferrari, Robert Kubica in his BMW and the Honda of Rubens Barrichello. Then came Alexander Wurz in the second Williams, Scott Speed (Toro Rosso), David Coulthard, Takuma Sato and Tonio Liuzzi and Heikki Kovalainen.

Next up was Jenson Button ahead of fellow countryman Anthony Davidson, Jarno Trulli, Ralf Schumacher, Adrian Sutil and Christijan Albers.

The Dutchman was in the biggest trouble, crashing at Tabac after just 24 minutes of running.