Monaco GP - Thursday - Practice Session 2 Report

Wet Silence

Fernando Alonso, Monaco GP 2014

Fernando Alonso, Monaco GP 2014 

 © The Cahier Archive

 

The track was wet, and nobody came out to play. That was the story of the first half of Free Practice 2 for the Monaco Grand Prix.

The ambient temperature at the start of the session was 68 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Centigrade) and the track temperature was 75 degrees Fahrenheit (24 degrees Centigrade.)

A sudden rain shower during the lunch break left the track wet even though the sky were brightening as the session got underway. Pirelli intermediate rain tires were fitted to the cars, but none of the driver was anxious to go out onto the slick track.

4 minutes into the session, Valtteri Bottas headed out for a lap, slithering between the barriers in his Williams, and then pitted.

The other drivers and crews hung about the pit garages and waited for someone else to go out there and dry the track.

15 minutes into the session, and Bottas' sole lap had been the only on track action so far. With no rain predicted for Friday or Sunday, getting track data when it was wet was not that big a priority for the teams. Nor did they want to risk wrecking their cars for the sake of a few laps on a damp track.

30 minutes into the session, and still nobody else had done a lap. The fans who had paid to sit in the grandstands or watch from apartment balconies soaked in the Monaco atmosphere sans F1 cars.

49 minutes into the session, the sun was out but no cars were out.

50 minutes into the session, Adrian Sutil bravely drove his Sauber out on the track. He was on Pirelli's intermediate wet weather tires. He did a complete lap, what a feat, and pitted.

49 minutes into the session, the Toro Rosso team finally realized that you were allowed to run cars during the session and sent out Daniil Kvyat and Jean-Eric Vergne. Both drivers heroically stayed out for a second lap. Just before the midpoint of FP2 Kvyat clocked the first time of the session – a 1:44.982. Vergne beat that with a 1:42.484.

Midway through FP2 the top six were only the top two: Vergne and Kvyat. Nobody else had set a time.

Ferrari didn't want to look like wimps compared to its customer team Toro Rosso, so Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen fearlessly tried some laps.

No more people were getting on the courageous band wagon as McLaren's Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen plus Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo valiantly tried a few laps.

It was still slippery out there, which Kvyat proved by sliding off at Turn 1.

With 40 minutes remaining in the session, Alonso went quickest with a 1:36.038, but Vettel beat that with a 1:35.896.

With 38 minutes remaining in the session, the track was drying out as Vettel clocked a 1:33.780. Then Magnussen turned a 1:33.562. Vettel responded with a 1:32.588.

With 36 minutes remaining in the session, Alonso took second with a 1:32.710. The times were obviously going to keep falling in the final 35 minutes of the 90 minute FP2, as Button proved with his lap of 1:32.423.

With 33 minutes to go, the top nine were: Button, Vettel, Alonso, Magnussen, Jules Bianchi (Marussia), Max Chilton (Marussia), Kvyat, Vergne and Raikkonen. Nobody else had set a time.

At the one hour mark nobody was out on the track, and nine drivers had not been out there at all.

The wet silence – make that the drying silence – fell over the pit garages again.

With 26 minutes remaining in the session, Button headed out on the intermediate tires. He stayed out for a second lap. He clocked a 1:31.594 and then pitted as Magnussen became the sole driver on track with 21 minutes remaining in the session. He posted a 1:32.327 but cut across the curbs at the swimming pool on that lap.

With 17 minutes remaining in the session, Hamilton went out followed by Rosberg. They came in to practice some pit stop stuff.

With13 minutes remaining in the session, there were still damp patches on the track, so Hamilton, the only driver on that track, stayed on intermediate tires rather than switch to slicks. He and Rosberg were among the 11 drivers who had not set a lap time yet.

Finally some drivers tried slick tires. Vergne on softs and Nico Hulkenberg had super softs on his Force India.

With 8 minutes remaining in the session, Vergne turned a 1:26.002. Hulkenberg did a 1:26.378.

With 6 minutes remaining in the session, other drivers tried out the slicks. Sergio Perez, with super softs on his Force India, did a 1:24.659 but several other drivers quickly beat that time including Alonso who set a 1:22.047.

With 4 minutes remaining in the session, everybody but Raikkonen, whose Ferrari had a problem, was on track. Alonso did a 1:19.498.

With 2 minutes remaining in the session, Vettel got second with a 1:19.829 while Marcus Ericsson nudged the barriers at Turn 8 in his Caterham.

Alonso improved to a 1:18.482 as Hamilton grabbed the second spot. Vettel, Vergne, Bottas, Perez, Hulkenberg, Button, Ricciardo and Magnussen rounded out the top 10.


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