F1: Alonso signals that he intends to win in Monaco

By Andy & LJH

CalendarThursday, May 13th, 2010

 
 

Fernando Alonso has signalled his intention to add a third Monaco victory to his list of career achievements after a searing performance in free practice today.

Fernando Alonso was fastest in both sessions

Fernando Alonso was fastest in both sessions

So far this season both Ferrari drivers have resisted the urge to show-boat in the practice sessions, preferring low-key running and set-up work that left them well down the time-sheets, but today was a different matter.

Despite still not working on outright pace, in the morning session he edged Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel by a few hundredths of a second and in the afternoon he was more than a tenth of a second clear of Mercedes GP’s Nico Rosberg.

The latter had little running in the first session, spending half of it in the garage, and the question of whether the advantage at his team has now swung to Michael Schumacher remains unanswered as the pair shared the honours across the day.

The Red Bulls, untouchably fast in Barcelona, were up the front for most of the day with Mark Webber saying the team had made improvements in slow-speed running.

Domination of the top positions by the fastest four teams was disrupted by Renault’s Robert Kubica – third-fastest in the opening session and sixth in the second – and by Adrian Sutil of Force India who was ninth and eighth.

McLaren’s Jenson Button set a similar pace – eighth in the first session and ninth in the second – while Lewis Hamilton posted a pair of seventh-places.

Hamilton thought his car was "fantastic"

Hamilton thought his car was 'fantastic'

Despite the unremarkable times they posted Hamilton was happy with his car, calling it “fantastic”. He said: “It’s light years ahead of last year’s car.

“Obviously, we weren’t at the top of the time sheets, but I’ve really been enjoying driving around here today. When you’re at Monaco, things just seem to happen so much faster than normal – it feels two or three times quicker than at other circuits. You’re always on the edge, and if you brake just a little bit too late, then you’ll be in the barrier. It’s an incredible feeling.

“Of course, everyone at the front of the grid is looking pretty competitive, but I think we should be okay. Qualifying’s going to be tough, I hope the weather stays okay for us and that we can fight for a spot in the top three.”

Button added: “This morning felt good, we went through some positive set-up changes and I felt pretty happy with the car. For P2, we made some further changes, but I don’t think all of them were an improvement and we went back in a few areas.

“Our long-run pace was good, so I’m feeling very happy about that. Tomorrow, we’ve still got a little bit of work to do to understand what’s best for low fuel and new tyres. But I think we understand where we’ve got to be, because we were on the pace this morning.

Red Bull have yet to show their pace, says Alonso

Red Bull have yet to show their pace, says Alonso

“Overall, the Ferrari looks very quick, and I’m pretty sure Red Bull are hiding their pace. But it’s the normal cars up at the front, and I’m sure we’ll get a better idea on Saturday morning. McLaren always produces a good car around Monaco, they’ve won 15 times around here – more than anyone else – so hopefully we can do well on Saturday.”

Ominously, Alonso confirmed there was more to come from Ferrari: “It’s only Thursday, so the main aim was to understand how the tyres work and get confident with the circuit. On this track a major set up change might give you half a tenth, but trusting your driving can see you gain half a second.

“I can understand that there could be a level of pessimism after the show of strength from Red Bull in Barcelona qualifying, but we know that here, having the right set-up can make more of a difference than pure aerodynamic downforce and we already have a good baseline, given that last year, Kimi nearly took pole with a car that was far off the F10 in terms of its potential.”

Practice two times

  1. Fernando Alonso, Ferrari: 1:14.904
  2. Nico Rosberg, Mercedes GP: 1:15.013
  3. Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull: 1:15.099
  4. Felipe Massa, Ferrari: 1:15.120
  5. Michael Schumacher, Mercedes GP: 1:15.143
  6. Robert Kubica, Renault: 1:15.192
  7. Lewis Hamilton, McLaren: 1:15.249
  8. Adrian Sutil, Force India: 1:15.460
  9. Jenson Button, McLaren: 1:15.619
  10. Mark Webber, Red Bull: 1:15.620
  11. Vitaly Petrov, Renault: 1:15.746
  12. Sebastien Buemi, Toro Rosso, 1:16.276
  13. Nico Hulkenberg, Williams: 1:16.348
  14. Rubens Barrichello, Williams: 1:16.522
  15. Vitantonio Liuzzi, Force India: 1:16.528
  16. Pedro de la Rosa, Sauber-Ferrari: 1:16.599
  17. Kamui Kobayashi, Sauber-Ferrari: 1:16.818
  18. Jaime Alguersuari, Toro Rosso-Ferrari: 1:17.023
  19. Heikki Kovalainen, Lotus: 1:18.184
  20. Lucas di Grassi, Virgin: 1:18.478
  21. Jarno Trulli, Lotus: 1:18.667
  22. Timo Glock, Virgin: 1:18.721
  23. Karun Chandhok, Hispania: 1:20.313
  24. Bruno Senna, Hispania: 1:22.148

Practice one times

  1. Fernando Alonso, Ferrari: 1:15.927
  2. Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull: 1:16.000
  3. Robert Kubica, Renault: 1:16.016
  4. Mark Webber, Red Bull: 1:16.382
  5. Felipe Massa, Ferrari: 1:16.517
  6. Michael Schumacher, Mercedes GP: 1:16.589
  7. Lewis Hamilton, McLaren: 1:16.647
  8. Jenson Button, McLaren: 1:16.692
  9. Adrian Sutil, Force India: 1:16.805
  10. Sebastien Buemi, Toro Rosso: 1:16.857
  11. Nico Rosberg, Mercedes GP: 1:17.149
  12. Rubens Barrichello, Williams: 1:17.331
  13. Vitantonio Liuzzi, Force India: 1:17.704
  14. Vitaly Petrov, Renault: 1:17.718
  15. Jaime Alguersuari, Toro Rosso: 1:17.991
  16. Nico Hulkenberg, Williams: 1:18.397
  17. Pedro de la Rosa, Sauber: 1:18.434
  18. Kamui Kobayashi, Sauber: 1:18.547
  19. Timo Glock, Virgin: 1:19.527
  20. Heikki Kovalainen, Lotus: 1:19.606
  21. Jarno Trulli, Lotus: 1:19.902
  22. Lucas di Grassi, Virgin: 1:20.566
  23. Bruno Senna, Hispania: 1:21.688
  24. Karun Chandhok, Hispania: 1:21.853

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