Monaco GP - Thursday - Practice Session 2 Report

Home Boys II

Nico Rosberg

Nico Rosberg 

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Nico Rosberg grew up in Monaco and still lives there. Lewis Hamilton only made Monaco his home a couple years ago. The two Monaco home boys and Mercedes teammates clocked the fastest time in Friday afternoon’s Free Practice 2 for the Monaco Grand Prix.

Ferrari teammates Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa were third and fourth.

Pirelli brought its super soft and soft compound dry weather tires to Monaco. In FP1 the drivers had only used the yellow side-walled soft slicks.

Caterham driver Guido van der Garde was 1,000 euros poorer than he had been in the morning after officials fined him for pit lane speeding in FP1.

Just as in FP1, Sauber teammates Esteban Gutierrez and Nico Hulkenberg were the first two out on the streets of the Principality as the 90 minute afternoon session began under clear blue skies and sparkling sun. Max Chilton steered his Marussia out of pit exit to join them.

The ambient air temperature at the start of the session was 71.6 degrees Fahrenheit (22 degrees Celsius), and the track temperature was 107.6 degrees Fahrenheit (42 degrees Celsius.)

Three minutes to into the session, Gutierrez posted the first lap time at 1:24.850, but Chilton then turned a 1:22.121. That didn’t last long before Pastor Maldonado clocked a 1:18.863 in his Williams. His teammate topped that with a 1:18.360.

Five minutes to into the session, only Fernando Alonso (Ferrari) and Red Bull teammates Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel were not on the circuit.

Meanwhile, Kimi Raikkonen shot to the top with a 1:17.309 in his Lotus. Then his teammate Romain Grosjean took fastest honors with a 1:16.999 followed by a 16.096.

12 minutes to into the session, Nico Rosberg moved ahead with a 1:15.843. His Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton moved into second with a 1:15.963. Two minutes later, Fernando Alonso set a 1:15.519 in his Ferrari. Grosjean was now second with a 1:15.718.

Things had been fast and furious for the first 15 minutes, but then quieted down. Only four cars were on track at the 18 minute mark. One of those was Jean-Eric Vergne with the red side-walled super soft slicks bolted on to his Toro Rosso. He jumped up to 10th place.

24 minutes to into the session, Raikkonen tried the super softs. He turned a 1:15.511. Rosberg was also on the super softs now, and 27 minutes to into the session he broke into the 1:14s with a 1:14.759. His Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton also tried the super softs and took over second with a 1:15.077.

The first crash of the weekend happened 31 minutes into the session as Grosjean hit the barrier on the outside after running wide out of Turn 1. A crane lifted the car off the track as the marshals swept away the debris.

37 minutes to into the session, the red flags came out to bring proceedings to a halt because the plastic curb at Turn 13 (the Swimming Pool Chicane) had come loose. It was quickly repaired, and the session restarted 41 minutes to into the session.

Midway through the 90 minutes, the top six were: Rosberg, Hamilton, Alonso, Webber, Raikkonen and Massa.

With 30 minutes remaining in the session, most teams had completed doing their qualifying lap runs on the super softs and were now concentrating on race simulations on the super soft and soft tires.

The Mercedes duo did long runs to see how long the super soft slicks would last. After nearly 20 laps the super softs were five seconds slower than they had been on the first lap.

McLaren’s sporting director Sam Michael predicted that this will be a one or two pit stop race, so it is important to see how long the super softs would go before really losing their grip.

While he had not set the fastest time, Raikkonen looked consistent on long runs in the Lotus, and that bode well for Sunday’s race.

With one minute remaining in the session, everybody except the car-less Grosjean was out on the track.

The top 10 at the end of FP2 were: Rosberg, Hamilton, Alonso, Massa, Webber, Raikkonen, Grosjean, Jenson Button (McLaren), Vettel and Paul di Resta (Force India.)

Just three of the past 30 Monaco Grands Prix have been won by a car starting outside the top three.

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