Alonso tops shortened practice session in Monaco

2012 Monaco Grand Prix first practice

Fernando Alonso, Monaco, Ferrari, 2012Fernando 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.

Jenson Button, McLaren, Monaco, 2012With 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. Driver Car Best lap Gap Laps
1 5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’16.265 22
2 10 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1’16.630 0.365 17
3 15 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1’16.711 0.446 19
4 4 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1’16.747 0.482 12
5 18 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1’16.760 0.495 20
6 6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’16.843 0.578 19
7 14 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1’17.038 0.773 21
8 3 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’17.190 0.925 13
9 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’17.222 0.957 14
10 8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’17.261 0.996 18
11 7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’17.413 1.148 14
12 12 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1’17.631 1.366 18
13 2 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’18.106 1.841 14
14 17 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’18.209 1.944 25
15 16 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’18.252 1.987 28
16 11 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1’18.302 2.037 16
17 19 Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 1’18.617 2.352 20
18 20 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1’19.039 2.774 20
19 21 Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1’19.341 3.076 16
20 23 Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1’20.838 4.573 26
21 25 Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1’20.895 4.630 18
22 24 Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1’21.638 5.373 9
23 22 Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1’22.423 6.158 15
24 9 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault No time 1

2012 Monaco Grand Prix

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54 comments on Alonso tops shortened practice session in Monaco

  1. Jay Menon (@jaymenon10) said on 24th May 2012, 10:36

    Ferrari looking good or were they doing Qualy sims?

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

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 24th May 2012, 10:39


      were they doing Qualy sims?

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

    • Xysion said on 24th May 2012, 11:02


      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.

      • Eggry (@eggry) said on 24th May 2012, 11:05

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

      • Solo (@solo) said on 24th May 2012, 17:55

        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.

    • xeroxpt (@) said on 24th May 2012, 12:02

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

  2. And1star (@and1star) said on 24th May 2012, 10:42

    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.

  3. BBT (@bbt) said on 24th May 2012, 10:45

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

    The Saubers are looking good again.

  4. BasCB (@bascb) said on 24th May 2012, 10:45

    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.

  5. LucaBadoerFan (@lucabadoerfan) said on 24th May 2012, 10:50

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

    • Todfod (@todfod) said on 24th May 2012, 10:53

      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.

    • matthewf1 (@) said on 24th May 2012, 10:55

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

    • xeroxpt (@) said on 24th May 2012, 12:06

      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. Todfod (@todfod) said on 24th May 2012, 10:51

    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

  7. Eggry (@eggry) said on 24th May 2012, 10:53

    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 (@) said on 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.

    • Eggry (@eggry) said on 24th May 2012, 11:04

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

    • MW (@) said on 24th May 2012, 11:29

      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

    • Paulocreed (@paulocreed) said on 24th May 2012, 14:56

      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. McLarenJB2009 (@mclarenjb2009) said on 24th May 2012, 11:11

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

  10. AdrianMorse (@adrianmorse) said on 24th May 2012, 11:22

    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.

    • Snafu (@snafu) said on 24th May 2012, 12:06

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

    • xeroxpt (@) said on 24th May 2012, 12:08

      He really cant spare time to annoy his team.

      • Robbie (@robbie) said on 24th May 2012, 12:23

        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.

      • Rocca said on 24th May 2012, 13:07

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

  11. Tifoso1989 (@tifoso1989) said on 24th May 2012, 11:35

    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 ??

  12. andae23 (@andae23) said on 24th May 2012, 11:58

    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. callum (@095cal) said on 24th May 2012, 12:26

    not many laps completed, is this normal for Monaco?

  14. StefMeister (@stefmeister) said on 24th May 2012, 12:42

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

  15. Robbie (@robbie) said on 24th May 2012, 13:01

    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.’

  16. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 24th May 2012, 13:18

    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. Prof Kirk (@prof-kirk) said on 24th May 2012, 14:13

    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.

  18. Paulocreed (@paulocreed) said on 24th May 2012, 15:01

    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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