Showing his expertise around the grounds of Monte Carlo once again, Fernando Alonso took the top spot in second free-practice yesterday.
The Ferrari-man led the early part of the session while the field circulated on Pirelli’s soft compound tyre, only to be bumped down the order by Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull).
As all changed to the supersoft tyres, Alonso once again took control of practice, setting 1:15.123, with the Spaniard managing a busy 42 laps.
Lewis Hamilton led the McLaren charge by assuming 2nd place in the session, just one-tenth shy of Alonso. The 2008 World Champion made a significant point with his placing, although with this only being practice, it is a wonder anyone noticed.
Despite having an intermittent KERS unit, Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg gatecrashed the Ferrari / McLaren / Red Bull party – the German driver set the 3rd best time ahead of Jenson Button (4th, McLaren), Vettel (5th) and Felipe Massa (6th, Ferrari).
Admittedly, it was something of a frantic session for the Ferrari duo, especially Massa. An early session near-coming together nearly saw Alonso wipe his front wing clean off Massa’s gearbox, while the Brazilian himself had several lairy moments, nearly removing every corner of his red machine on a number of occasions.
Rosberg’s veteran teammate, Michael Schumacher claimed 7th spot, albeit a full 1.233 seconds off of Alonso’s pace, but still finished three-tenths ahead of Red Bull’s Mark Webber.
It was not the most representative practice day for Webber – having not set a time in the morning, the Australian found himself without KERS in the afternoon; however, it is questionable if the gap to the lead should be that large.
Several drivers had offs during the second session, including Monaco-expert Pastor Maldonado. The Williams rookie – like many others – slid off at St Devote, but cleanly recovered his machine to set the 15th fastest time after a 49-lap stint.
Heikki Kovalainen (Lotus) went off at the same spot twice. Neither interruption stalled the Finn’s practice and he assumed 18th on the time sheets after 50 laps.
The same could not be said of Toro Rosso’s Jaime Alguersuari, who took to the St Devote escape Road only to plough into the barrier. It lost the under-pressure Spaniard some time, but he recovered to record the 17th best time, some 2.666 seconds off the pace, but two-tenths shy of teammate Sebastien Buemi.
In the dying moments of the session, Vitaly Petrov lost the rear of his Renault approaching the Nouvelle chicane, pitching him into the Armco barrier. It was a similar incident to Vitantonio Liuzzi’s morning crash – both ended their day’s with damaged front wings and suspensions.
Sadly for Liuzzi, the Italian received no afternoon running time – during his fix, engineer’s discovered a bubbling hydraulics issue with his Hispania machine, parking Liuzzi for the day.
At Force India, Paul di Resta’s afternoon was shortened by a gearbox failure. The Scot only ran 15 laps when his car stopped on track, leaving 20th on the time sheets.
Hopefully, di Resta will be on track in his new home come Saturday practice.
Pos Driver Team Time Laps 1. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m15.123s 42 2. Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1m15.228s + 0.105 33 3. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m15.321s + 0.198 44 4. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m15.448s + 0.325 38 5. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m15.667s + 0.544 46 6. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m15.781s + 0.658 45 7. Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1m16.356s + 1.233 33 8. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m16.642s + 1.519 42 9. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m17.101s + 1.978 46 10. Nick Heidfeld Renault 1m17.126s + 2.003 38 11. Vitaly Petrov Renault 1m17.337s + 2.214 35 12. Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1m17.541s + 2.418 47 13. Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1m17.570s + 2.447 39 14. Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m17.581s + 2.458 32 15. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Cosworth 1m17.633s + 2.510 49 16. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1m17.706s + 2.583 37 17. Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m17.789s + 2.666 43 18. Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Renault 1m18.266s + 3.143 50 19. Jarno Trulli Lotus-Renault 1m18.490s + 3.367 39 20. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m19.053s + 3.930 15 21. Jerome D'Ambrosio Virgin-Cosworth 1m19.185s + 4.062 40 22. Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1m19.338s + 4.215 35 23. Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1m22.066s + 6.943 33