Alonso tops shortened practice session in Monaco

2012 Monaco Grand Prix first practice

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Fernando Alonso was quickest in the first practice at Monaco after the session was stopped early.

A massive engine failure for Heikki Kovalainen in the tunnel meant practice was halted with nine minutes left to run.

Sergio Perez (pictured) ended the session third fastest behind Romain Grosjean.

The session had begun in bright sunshine with the two Toro Rosso drivers first to put some serious laps in. Jean-Eric Vergne edged team mate Daniel Ricciardo by a tenth of a second.

Grosjean and Michael Schumacher were next to trade fastest times, the Lotus driver ending up on top.

As usual in Monaco drivers continued to find improvements as the track cleaned up throughout the session.

Hamilton and Grosjean took turns at the top of the times but it was Alonso who ended the session on top with a lap of 1’16.265 in his Ferrari.

With ten minutes to go the session came to an early end when Kovalainen suffered a massive engine failure while passing through the tunnel. The Caterham came to a stop shortly after the exit.

The session was quickly red-flagged as the following cars had to crawl through the cloud of smoke in the tunnel. With a slick of oil left on the racing line, race control decided not to restart practice.

Perez had just gone third-fastest for Sauber behind Grosjean. Hamilton was fourth ahead of Spanish Grand Prix winner Pastor Maldonado.

Felipe Massa, Kamui Kobayashi, Jenson Button, Sebastian Vettel and Nico Rosberg completed the top ten, all covered by less than a second.

Schumacher was 11th after picking up front wing and wheel hub damage when he glanced the barrier at the inside of the Swimming Pool chicane with the right-hand side of his car. That ended his session early for Mercedes.

However Kimi Raikkonen didn’t even set a time. After returning from his installation lap he was once again unhappy with the steering on his Lotus, and the team set about making a lengthy change which was not completed before the end of the session.

Pos.No.DriverCarBest lapGapLaps
15Fernando AlonsoFerrari1’16.26522
210Romain GrosjeanLotus-Renault1’16.6300.36517
315Sergio PerezSauber-Ferrari1’16.7110.44619
44Lewis HamiltonMcLaren-Mercedes1’16.7470.48212
518Pastor MaldonadoWilliams-Renault1’16.7600.49520
66Felipe MassaFerrari1’16.8430.57819
714Kamui KobayashiSauber-Ferrari1’17.0380.77321
83Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Mercedes1’17.1900.92513
91Sebastian VettelRed Bull-Renault1’17.2220.95714
108Nico RosbergMercedes1’17.2610.99618
117Michael SchumacherMercedes1’17.4131.14814
1212Nico HulkenbergForce India-Mercedes1’17.6311.36618
132Mark WebberRed Bull-Renault1’18.1061.84114
1417Jean-Eric VergneToro Rosso-Ferrari1’18.2091.94425
1516Daniel RicciardoToro Rosso-Ferrari1’18.2521.98728
1611Paul di RestaForce India-Mercedes1’18.3022.03716
1719Bruno SennaWilliams-Renault1’18.6172.35220
1820Heikki KovalainenCaterham-Renault1’19.0392.77420
1921Vitaly PetrovCaterham-Renault1’19.3413.07616
2023Narain KarthikeyanHRT-Cosworth1’20.8384.57326
2125Charles PicMarussia-Cosworth1’20.8954.63018
2224Timo GlockMarussia-Cosworth1’21.6385.3739
2322Pedro de la RosaHRT-Cosworth1’22.4236.15815
249Kimi RaikkonenLotus-RenaultNo time1

2012 Monaco Grand Prix

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Images © Ferrari spa/Ercole Colombo, McLaren/Hoch Zwei

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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54 comments on “Alonso tops shortened practice session in Monaco”

  1. Ferrari looking good or were they doing Qualy sims?

    Top 10 split by a second..promises to be a great weekend ahead.

    1. @jaymenon10

      were they doing Qualy sims?

      Doubt it, they didn’t use the super-soft tyres (no-one did).

      1. So does this mean that Ferrari actually have the pace to be in front?…I hope so!!

    2. No.

      Fernando Alonso in the Ferrari has always been very fast at Monaco. For reference purposes he was quickest in the Practice 1 in 2010 and last year he was fourth fastest in Practice 1.

      1. and the fastest one in FP2,3 as well. Alonso is always great at Monaco. just needs good car and some luck…

      2. His difference from Massa isn’t any bigger than any other track so i don’t see how this has anything to do with Alonso specifically going faster in Monaco.
        The car IS faster.

    3. Its just FP1 and as usual there aint no guide form yet, theres nothing yet.

  2. If the times stay this close, the qualifying promises to be one of the most exciting since years… But usually, pole-time in Monaco is somewhere around 1.12 so it’ll still improve.

    1. 1:13.556 last year, they will be quicker this year (unless it rains)

      1. Aditya Banerjee (@)
        24th May 2012, 10:55

        How so?

      2. I don’t think it would be faster than last year because ban of EBD.

        1. They won’t be faster. At most tracks this year it’s been 1-1.5 secs slower in quali.

          1. Hamilton went faster at Spain this year without the EBD than last year, didn’t he? (Not 100% on this, please confirm). And Monaco FP1 time last year was 1:16.6 (Vettel), this year 1:16.2.

        2. @eggry, @alehud42, Well they were faster in Spain and so far have been faster in Monaco, so it is a fair assumption.

    2. Anyways rain is predicted.

  3. Four Ferrari powered cars in the top 7, I expected to be saying that about Renault.

    The Saubers are looking good again.

  4. Interestingly, Edd Straw tweeted about having looked at the cars from the tunnel and then the track before the swimming pool, wrote the Lotus was looking very good, but the Mercedes cars, especially in Rosberg’s hands were looking rock solid there.

    1. Shame we didn’t see Raikkonen but they must be in with a very good chance of the win.

  5. how on earth was narain ahead of both marussias, and around 1.5 seconds ahead of pedro? did he cut a few chicanes?

    1. He must have been on a light fuel load. There is no other explanation for that time.

      It’s not like Narain found a burst of talent and racing prowess all of a sudden.

    2. matthewf1 (@)
      24th May 2012, 10:55

      he did his lap on foot, that’s why he was quicker then the other three ;-)

    3. After the GP2 pratice session those low teams times look pretty awful, especially when compared with Valsecchis time also set in softs but no DRS.

  6. I know I shouldn’t read too much into practice times, but whats going on with Bruno Senna? 2 seconds off his teammate’s time!?!? I hope he was on a full fuel load

    1. Well there should be difference in program as well but everyone knows Bruno is not so brave and Maldonado has balls.

      1. Given that Senna beat Maldonado here in GP2 2008, I’m not sure that’s the fairest assessment, but to each their own.

    2. matthewf1 (@)
      24th May 2012, 10:59

      Senna obviously not used to driving in FP1 ;-)

      1. Good point actually. Is this his first FP1 this year?

        1. Second. Melbourne was the only other one he’s had so far.

  7. Stunning, It’s so tight! It should be the best Monaco GP ever! also Ferrari F2012 and Lotus E20 were the cars that lack of traction but here, where traction is vital, they looks strong. Hopefully I want to see Ferrari front row still it’s a bit too early.

  8. Aditya Banerjee (@)
    24th May 2012, 11:00

    It is interesting to see Alonso two-tenths quicker than everybody else in the second sector, which is also the longest sector on the track. Massa’s times were also encouraging, he was third fastest in that same sector, just sixteen-thousandths behind Maldonado. This proves that Ferrari do have good pace on this circuit, at least in dry conditions. Also interesting was the fact that Massa is 3kph quicker than Aloso on a straight line. Proves the time-tested theory that time in Monaco is gained in the corners.

    1. Good pace from Massa is encouraging but why it’s always 0.6s(off from Alonso)?! It becomes sort of magic number now.

    2. I really hope Massa can pull it out of nowhere this weekend.. He needs to produce some Massa magic pronto!

      My top 5 wishlist for a victory here would be:

      1. Massa
      3. Schumacher
      4. Maldonado

      1. This is a very nice wishlist.
        I hope it comes true :P

    3. In general, you gain the most time the earlier you can get on the throttle out of a corner. Without sacrificing corner entry speed.

  9. This is the first time that I actually got so excited watching FP.Brilliant stuff!!!

  10. However Kimi Raikkonen didn’t even set a time. After returning from his installation lap he was once again unhappy with the steering on his Lotus, and the team set about making a lengthy change which was not completed before the end of the session.

    It seems to me it would have been wiser to get some running with the sub-optimal power steering, and make changes in the break between FP1 and FP2.

    I’m also a little surprised at the low lap count of several drivers, given that it is often said that Monaco is about getting confidence in the car. The McLaren duo were right at the bottom, as they usually are, but there are a couple of others with less than 15 laps. It’s not like you need to save the engine at Monaco, I would expect.

    1. there is always the danger of ruining new parts by crashing into a barrier when you run more in monaco though…

    2. He really cant spare time to annoy his team.

      1. I think KR must be quite annoyed with how the steering feels. If the team is annoyed at all it should be at themselves for not getting the steering to KR’s liking. Otherwise, it’s not like the team is going to punish KR for not being happy with the steering, so I don’t quite get the comment. The team and KR both need to try to get him confident in the car, especially here where there is little margin for error.

      2. Yeah they must be really annoyed with him for doing brilliant in races with their crappy strategies.

  11. i think this is the first session in the year when we didn’t saw any reserve driver ??? this explain how difficult for the drivers to drive around Monaco ??

    1. @tifoso1989 First FP1 without any reserves I think.

    2. Running reserve driver in Monaco means higher risk of binning the car. Track time in Monaco is very crucial because the track surface varies every year.

  12. 90 minutes of running with 24 drivers without a single (major) crash: tells us all about the high standards in F1 at the moment. Just watched GP2 practice: 30 minutes, on average one crash every 3 minutes…

  13. not many laps completed, is this normal for Monaco?

  14. OnBoard from Vettel’s Helmet-Cam during FP1 from Sky’s OnBoard feed:

    1. So cool…

  15. Lol…just noticed in the pic of FA at the top of the article it looks like there is an arrow pointing at his new helmet. I wonder if anyone will click on it to ‘play the video.’

    1. Caption says that the pic is Perez, I guess the rumours are true or Keith is ahead of the game again.

  16. As much as I want to, I’m not going to read too much into the top 10 being split by 1s. Any hint of rain and the teams are sure to go banzai for a dry session to maximise likely reflective race running. Plus, a lot can happen in 9 minutes.

  17. I’m probably the only person silly enough to click on the First image of Fernando thinking it was a video.


    I’ll be cheering for Lotus and Sauber, ideally I would like Romain Grosjean to win this event, French Driver winning the closest thing France has to a French GP, then making it 6 different drivers and teams to win a race, that would be a cracking result.

    1. See my comment at the bottom of the first page.

  18. Speaking of which, I don’t hear Vitaly complaining about the safety of the barriers being too close throughout the whole track.

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