Lewis Hamilton must be hopeful that his much-criticised MP4-24 will have some traction on the streets of Monaco this weekend after he came close to topping the second-practice timesheets – behind session specialist Nico Rosberg.
The Williams driver produced his usual Friday-afternoon stunner a day early to record the best unofficial time of the day with 1:15.243 during a thrilling session in which the top timesheet slot changed hands several times. Hamilton was eventually second on 1:15.445.
Brawn GP’s Rubens Barrichello was in third place less than a tenth of a second behind him, while colleague Jenson Button put down the fourth-fastest time, an improvement on his unexpected ninth place in first practice.
Ferrari’s Felipe Massa was fifth with Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel sixth, McLaren’s Heikki Kovalainen seventh and Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen eighth.
Nelson A Piquet surprised spectators by going faster than team-mate Fernando Alonso – the pair ended up in tenth and eleventh slots behind Williams’ Kazuki Nakajima.
The two Toyotas managed to improve on a poor first session but were still some way off the front of the field, along with Nick Heidfeld’s BMW and both Toro Rossos.
BMW Sauber driver Robert Kubica failed to set a time after his engine exploded on the heights of Massenet early in the session.
In first practice Brawn GP were able to keep their rivals at bay, with Barrichello the top-placed driver on 1:17.189, ahead of Massa by some two-tenths of a second.
Ferrari were rumoured to have something up their sleeve for this race, and Massa gave fans some reason to hope as he came in less than a tenth of a second ahead of Hamilton – another driver hoping for a result on Monaco’s atypical circuit.
Kovalainen and Raikkonen for Ferrari were fourth and fifth, the Williams duo of Nico Rosberg and Kazuki Nakajima sixth and seventh, leaving championship leader Button an unexpected eighth.
Alonso was ninth, and Mark Webber for Red Bull tenth. Webber’s winderkind team-mate Vettel only managed 13th after suffering a suspected engine failure part-way through the session. The Toyotas brought up the rear of the field
Session two times
- Nico Rosberg, Williams: 1:15.243 (45 laps)
- Lewis Hamilton, McLaren: 1:15.445 (35 laps)
- Rubens Barrichello, Brawn GP: 1:15.590 (41 laps)
- Jenson Button, Brawn GP: 1:15.774 (36 laps)
- Felipe Massa, Ferrari: 1:15.832 (42 laps)
- Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull: 1:15.847 (33 laps)
- Heikki Kovalainen, McLaren: 1:15.984 (45 laps)
- Kimi RÃ¤ikkÃ¶nen, Ferrari: 1:15.985 (43 laps)
- Kazuki Nakajima, Williams: 1:16.260 (43 laps)
- Nelson A Piquet, Renault: 1:16.286 (43 laps)
- Fernando Alonso, Renault: 1:16.552 (39 laps)
- Mark Webber RBR-Renault: 1:16.579 (27 laps)
- Adrian Sutil, Force India: 1:16.675 (38 laps)
- Jarno Trulli, Toyota: 1:16.915 (43 laps)
- Sebastien Buemi, Toro Rosso: 1:16.983 (48 laps)
- Sebastien Bourdais, Toro Rosso: 1:17.052 (48 laps)
- Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber: 1:17.109 (40 laps)
- Timo Glock, Toyota: 1:17.207 (45 laps)
- Giancarlo Fisichella, Force India: 1:17.504 (45 laps)
- Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber: no time (2 laps)
Session one times
- Rubens Barrichello, Brawn GP: 1:17.189 (25 laps)
- Felipe Massa, Ferrari: 1:17.499 (31 laps)
- Lewis Hamilton, McLaren: 1:17.578 (25 laps)
- Heikki Kovalainen, McLaren: 1:17.686 (29 laps)
- Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari: 1:17.839 (30 laps)
- Kazuki Nakajima, Williams: 1:18.000 (29 laps)
- Nico Rosberg, Williams: 1:18.024 (27 laps)
- Jenson Button, Brawn GP: 1:18.080 (27 laps)
- Fernando Alonso, Renault: 1:18.283 (30 laps)
- Mark Webber, Red Bull: 1:18.348 (22 laps)
- Sebastien Buemi, Toro Rosso: 1:18.695 (36 laps)
- Nelson A Piquet, Renault: 1:19.204 (36 laps)
- Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull: 1:19.233 (16 laps)
- Sebastien Bourdais, Toro Rosso: 1:19.255 (30 laps)
- Giancarlo Fisichella, Force India: 1:19.534 (27 laps)
- Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber: 1:19.560 (20 laps)
- Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber: 1:19.579 (22 laps)
- Adrian Sutil, Force India: 1:19.600 (23 laps)
- Timo Glock, Toyota: 1:19.698 (23 laps)
- Jarno Trulli, Toyota: 1:19.831 (28 laps)