With the Friday practice sessions being moved to Thursday over the Monaco Grand Prix weekend, today saw action from Formula One around the heralded streets of the tiny Principality on the Northern coast of the Mediterranean Sea. And on the first outing to gauge the grip levels of the circuit, it was McLaren who drew first blood and went first and second fastest, reigning World Champion Fernando Alonso getting the better of his rookie team mate Lewis Hamilton. Fernando managed to set a blistering time in comparison to the other cars, and ended the first 90 minute session almost 0.8s ahead of the sister MP4-22. Of course, the track was improving all the time as more and more rubber was laid, and an accident involving Giancarlo Fisichella and an armco barrier prevented any faster laps in the final moments of the morning.
Nick Heidfeld set a good pace to finish third overall, and despite his rather abrupt meeting with a wall, Fisichella still managed to end the mornings activities in fourth. Mark Webber put his much improved Red Bull in sixth, while the Williams finished in seventh and eleventh for Nico Rosberg and Alex Wurz respectively.
Toyota and Spyker rounded off the timing sheet, Jarno Trulli finishing ahead of his German team mate, and Adrian Sutil finishing ahead of his Dutch partner. Super Aguri ran reasonably well, and were at least on par with the Honda pace. It wasn’t quite the exhilarating session for them, comiong off the back of that well deserved point in Spain, but Takuma Sato managed 14th and Anthony Davidson 18th.
Practice Session One
|6.||Mark Webber||Red Bull Racing||1m17.956s|
|12.||Scott Speed||Toro Rosso||1m18.967s|
|13.||David Coulthard||Red Bull Racing||1m19.095s|
|14.||Takuma Sato||Super Aguri||1m19.203s|
|15.||Vitantonio Liuzzi||Toro Rosso||1m19.285s|
|18.||Anthony Davidson||Super Aguri||1m19.337s|
The second of the two practice runs at Monaco went much the same way as the first for pace setter Fernando Alonso. The only real difference this time is that Ferrari found some extra pace and managed to displace Lewis Hamilton down to third with Kimi Raikkonen taking second. Giancarlo Fisichella manged to keep his Renault in the top five, losing only one place from his morning runs. The surprise of session two was Jarno Trulli shooting himself up the tables to finish fourth.
Approximately half way through the second session, British racer Hamilton made an error, possibly his first of the season, and slammed his MP4-22 into the barrier at the dreaded turn one – Ste Devote. The front of the car was beyond immediate repair. Hamilton wasn’t the only driver to have an off though, as Anthony Davidson clipped the barriers in almost the same place as Hamilton, Coulthard clipped a barrier at Loews Hairpin and Ralf Schumacher dropped his Toyota in the second part of the Swimming Pool complex.
Red Bull slipped a small amount, while Honda showed improvement. Heikki Kovalainen is struggling, finishing towards the bottom in both sessions, and Ralf Schumacher cannot seem to hook his car up, despite claiming that things are moving in the right direction earlier in the week. Once again, Spyker propped up the timing sheet, this time Christijan Albers pipped Adrian Sutil to the penultimate place.
Practice Session Two
|9.||Mark Webber||Red Bull Racing||1m17.292s|
|10.||David Coulthard||Red Bull Racing||1m17.414s|
|13.||Takuma Sato||Super Aguri||1m17.459s|
|16.||Vitantonio Liuzzi||Toro Rosso||1m17.898s|
|18.||Scott Speed||Toro Rosso||1m18.233s|
|19.||Anthony Davidson||Super Aguri||1m18.328s|