Reflected in a fire marshal's helmet, Nico Rosberg threads his way through the Loews Hairpin

Nico Rosberg has extended Mercedes’ pace-setting speed as Thursday’s practice for the Monaco Formula 1 Grand Prix came to a close.

With the field running Pirelli’s super soft compounds in the afternoon’s practice session, Rosberg led teammate Lewis Hamilton by 0.318 seconds, ahead of Ferrari duo Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa.

Track conditions were much warmer than the morning’s session – which also had Rosberg atop the timesheets – and the conditions encouraged much more substantial running over the ninety minutes of play.

Rosberg was the fastest driver all around the Monaco circuitAlonso was quickest overall during the initial soft-tyre running before the teams switched to the super soft rubber, at which point Rosberg posted three purple sectors to ease himself to the top of the timing screens. Teammate Hamilton was able to improve on his quickest lap-time to claim second overall.

Despite being third-quickest overall, Alonso had a number of ragged laps and several lock-ups as he fought to navigate his Ferrari between the barriers. Fortunately he managed to avoid any scrapes with the wall to beat home teammate Massa by less than a tenth of a second on the stopwatch.

Mark Webber was fifth-quickest and led the Red Bull Racing charge, albeit six-tenths of a second off Rosberg’s pace. The Australian – the event’s defending race-winner – finished ahead of Lotus pairing Kimi Räikkönen and Romain Grosjean, although the latter’s session was over after just ten laps when he slapped the barrier at Sainte Devote, mangling the front-left corner of his E21 and giving his mechanics a long night of repairs.

McLaren managed to get itself into the top-ten, courtesy of Jenson Button making a late charge on his super soft tyres. Worryingly, however, the Englishman was still a full 1.2 seconds off the leading pace, indicating the Woking squad still has a mountain to climb if it holds hopes of getting back to the front of the grid anytime soon.

Grosjean biffs the Sainte Devote barriersSebastian Vettel finished ninth-fastest overall after he was delayed getting onto the track while his mechanics fixed an unspecified technical glitch on his Red Bull RB9.

He finished ahead of the Force India pairing of Paul di Resta and Adrian Sutil – with the latter managing to keep his car out of the barriers in this session.

The session also suffered a momentary red flag when marshals had to make emergency repairs to the Turn 13 kerbing.

As is tradition in Monaco, the field will enjoy a ‘rest day’ on Friday, although it will still be filled with an enormous amount of PR duties as the teams and sponsors seek to capitalise on all exposure opportunities during the most glamorous weekend of the year. Tomorrow night’s highlight will be the traditional Amber Lounge Fashion Show, where a selection of the world’s fastest men on four wheels will suit up and showcase their modeling skills in aid of chairty.


2013 Monaco Formula 1 Grand Prix – Free Practice 2 Session Times:

Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1. Nico Rosberg DEU Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W04 1:14.759 46
2. Lewis Hamilton GBR Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W04 1:15.077 + 0.318 51
3. Fernando Alonso ESP Scuderia Ferrari F138 1:15.196 + 0.434 38
4. Felipe Massa BRA Scuderia Ferrari F138 1:15.278 + 0.519 39
5. Mark Webber AUS Red Bull Racing Renault RB9 1:15.404 + 0.645 42
6. Kimi Räikkönen FIN Lotus F1 Renault E21 1:15.511 + 0.752 39
7. Romain Grosjean FRA Lotus F1 Renault E21 1:15.718 + 0.959 10
8. Jenson Button GBR McLaren Mercedes MP4-28 1:15.959 + 1.200 40
9. Sebastian Vettel DEU Red Bull Racing Renault RB9 1:16.014 + 1.255 33
10. Paul di Resta GBR Force India Mercedes VJM06 1:16.046 + 1.287 43
11. Adrian Sutil DEU Force India Mercedes VJM06 1:16.349 + 1.590 44
12. Sergio Pérez MEX McLaren Mercedes MP4-28 1:16.434 + 1.675 41
13. Nico Hülkenberg DEU Sauber Ferrari C32 1:16.823 + 2.064 43
14. Pastor Maldonado VEN Williams Renault FW35 1:16.857 + 2.098 41
15. Esteban Gutiérrez MEX Sauber Ferrari C32 1:16.935 + 2.176 45
16. Daniel Ricciardo AUS Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR8 1:17.145 + 2.386 38
17. Jean-Éric Vergne FRA Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR8 1:17.184 + 2.425 35
18. Valtteri Bottas FIN Williams Renault FW35 1:17.264 + 2.505 43
19. Jules Bianchi FRA Marussia Cosworth MR02 1:17.892 + 3.133 47
20. Charles Pic FRA Caterham Renault CT03 1:18.212 + 3.453 41
21. Max Chilton GBR Marussia Cosworth MR02 1:18.784 + 4.025 44
22. Giedo van der Garde NED Caterham Renault CT03 1:19.031 + 4.272 31

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.

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