Fernando Alonso took Ferrari to the top of the timesheets in the opening practice session for the 2010 Monaco Grand Prix, narrowly edging out Sebastian Vettel and Robert Kubica for top honours in the 90-minute session.
Despite weather forecasts to the contrary, bright and sunny conditions greeted the driver, teams and fans this morning, with ambient temperatures of 19°C (66°F) for the majority of the session.
The session began quietly and no one had attempted a flying lap for the first 20 minutes, but once the serious running got underway, the leaderboard changed as the times started to tumble.
Felipe Massa took a turn at the top of the sheets and exchanged fastest times with both McLarens of Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button, before Robert Kubica hauled his Renault to the fastest time.
The Pole’s stint at the top was all too brief, as Fernando Alonso’s time of 1:15.927 put him quickest with 20 minutes of the session to run.
Sebastian Vettel had a late shot at toppling the Ferrari driver, but came up just short to the tune of just 0.073s.
Behind the third-quickest Kubica came Vettel’s team-mate Mark Webber, who complained of being held up on his quicker laps.
Massa and Mercedes GP’s Michael Schumacher completed the top-six places on the timing classification sheets, followed by both McLarens, Adrian Sutil and Sébastien Buemi.
Nico Rosberg lost half of the session confined to the pit lane, and was only 11th quickest with just 14 laps under his belt.
Fears that the slower runners would be some 6-8 seconds off the leading pace proved unfounded, with the quickest of the rookie drivers, Timo Glock, posting a fastest time just 3.6 seconds off Alonso’s pace.
The opening session also saw relatively few incidents, although a few drivers were spotted testing their undertrays (and backsides, no doubt) traversing the raised kerbs at the Nouvelle Chicane and Swimming Pool complex.
One driver to come to grief was Karun Chandhok, who spun and slapped the barriers at Massenet. Sauber’s Kamui Kobayashi broke another front wing – his fourth this season, if our tally is correct – when he got carried away hopping the kerbs at the Swimming Pool.
2010 Monaco Grand Prix Practice 1 Session Times:
[Original image via GP Update]