2011 Monaco Grand Prix (Rd 6, Free Practice 2, May 26th)

Monte Carlo. © Creative Commons / Will Pittenger

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

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