Monaco GP - Thursday - Practice Session 2 Report
Alonso Stays On Top Of Close Monaco Opening Day
Fernando Alonso finished the first day's action in Monte Carlo on top of the time sheets when his 1:14.904 lap was the only one below 1m15s. Closest challenger was Nico Rosberg's Mercedes (1:15.013) and then Sebastian Vettel's Red Bull (1:15.099).
Vettel is confident that he will have no repeat of his Spanish brake problem in Monaco and thinks that the team will be strong again this weekend, even if he is predicting a close battle.
Felipe Massa was fourth quickest with the second Ferrari (1:15.120), just a couple of hundredths ahead of five time Monaco winner Michael Schumacher (1:15.143) and Renault's Robert Kubica (1:15.192). With less than three tenths covering the first six cars, therefore, Monaco looks like being a tight battle.
Yet to appear in that top six are the two McLarens, with Lewis Hamilton (1:15.249) and Jenson Button (1:15.619) split by Adrian Sutil's Force India (1:15.460), and Barcelona winner Mark Webber (1:15.620), who is yet to record a representative lap on Bridgestone's option tyre and finished the day 10th quickest.
McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh said: "So far I don't think we are getting the best out of the first lap on a new set of tyres but Monaco can be a bit like that on the opening day with the circuit constantly evolving. Lewis has a great record here, he's won four times in various formulae, so has Jenson, and McLaren has won Monaco 15 times, so we're looking forward to it!"
At Red Bull, Christian Horner, is also confident that his team will be strong in the race. "People ask why our race pace is not as strong as the obvious qualifying speed but it's a different set of criteria on Sundays. Qualifying is obviously about optimum performance but the race is more about tyre management.
"The team is doing an excellent job at the moment, bringing upgrades that have all added performance. Barcelona was a fantastic effort and Mark was in great form. Sebastian had a few issues and only had three brakes for the last 10 laps, with one disc split in half down the spline. The car was obviously pulling to one side when he tried to use the brakes and he was basically using the aerodynamics to stop the car but still managed to set a fastest sector two time in the middle sector with three brakes!"
Russian rookie Vitaly Petrov (1:15.746) also did a strong job to finish the day in 11th place, just over half a second down on team mate Kubica, who looked supremely confident.