Alonso’s main aim was to get a handle on tyre behaviour while regaining confidence in the track, and he succeeded admirably on both counts on a circuit where he suggested that a major set-up change might find you a tenth of a second.Read the full news from ESPN f1 below.
ALONSO HOLDS ON TO TOP SPOT ON STREETS OF MONTE CARLO.
Fernando Alonso heads into this weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix with his head held high, after setting the fastest times in both sessions on Thursday.
In afternoon practice he lowered his best time to 1:14.904, a tenth of a second up on the Mercedes of Nico Rosberg in second and two tenths up on Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel in third. Alonso was quick on both soft and hard tyres as the majority of drivers worked with heavy fuel loads to simulate conditions for Sunday’s race.
Second place Rosberg had been off the pace in the morning’s running and spent most of his time in the garage toying with set-up. Whatever he did seemed to work, as he came out for free practice two and got ahead of his Mercedes team-mate Michael Schumacher and the pre-race favourite Vettel.
The Red Bulls looked far more settled in the afternoon session than they did in the morning, as both drivers got down to business running race set-ups. But while Vettel was third, his team-mate Mark Webber could only manage 10th fastest, 0.7 seconds off Alonso.
Rain threatened in the closing stages of the session and damp patches prevented any last-gasp flying laps to challenge Alonso’s time, which was set in near-perfect conditions. However, plenty of drivers were still pushing right up to the chequered flag and Robert Kubica had his Renault visibly on the limit to get within 0.3 seconds of the fastest time. He had his car at some remarkable angles throughout the session and is likely to be a contender for a top-six qualifying position, despite the R30’s deficiencies.
Another man outperforming his car was Adrian Sutil, who was eighth fastest with a 1:15.460, splitting the two McLarens. Neither Lewis Hamilton nor Jenson Button were up to speed over the two sessions, but with fuel loads completely unknown, it is very likely they are holding something back for Saturday.
Traffic was still an issue in the second session but with roles reversed, as Heikki Kovalainen in the Lotus pulled a move on Massa’s Ferrari to get ahead coming out of La Rascasse. Massa, who finished fourth fastest, made a few mistakes in both sessions and even joined some of the rookies in going off at Sainte Devote. Kovalainen, in the mean time, went on to set the fastest lap of the new teams, 3.280 seconds off the pacesetting Ferrari.