Sebastian Vettel has set the early pace as the action got underway this morning at Monaco, with the defending World Champion emerging fastest after trading quick session times with the Ferrari drivers, McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg.
Vettel’s fastest lap time – a 1:16.619 – was clocked with just seconds of the 90-minute session to run, with Fernando Alonso and Nico Rosberg completing the top-three places. Five-time Monaco Grand Prix winner Michael Schumacher made a rare mistake, crashing out of the session at the Sainte Devote corner.
Sunny conditions greeted the drivers when the circuit opened for business at 10AM local time, and a warm day was in order with the mercury already nudging 25°C (77°F) at the start of the session.
The slow circuit quickly rubbered in and the times began to drop in earnest in the final 15 minutes of running. Both Ferraris took turns at the top of the timesheets, before Lewis Hamilton went fastest. His time was bettered by Vettel, while Nico Rosberg vaulted to the top of the running order with five minutes to go. But his reign was short-lived, as Alonso and then Vettel moved to the top of the order in a last-minute battle for pride.
Felipe Massa finished the session fourth-fastest, just ahead of Lewis Hamilton, while Jenson Button was sixth-quickest and reported problems with his KERS during the session.
With the top-six covered by just one second on the timesheets, Pastor Maldonado was a surprise seventh-fastest in his Williams, albeit almost a second slower than Button. The Venezuelan rookie has enjoyed a sensational record at Monaco in his pre-F1 career, and he certainly seemed to revel on his first F1 outing at the circuit.
The top-ten was completed by Adrian Sutil, Vitaly Petrov and Michael Schumacher, who made a rare mistake by crashing out of the session with ten minutes to go. Carrying too much speed into the Sainte Devote corner, Schumacher attempted to head up the escape road, only for the right-hand side of his Mercedes GP to collect the tyre barriers. Narain Karthikeyan fell off the circuit in sympathy, but he was able to rejoin the track without making contact with Schumacher or the wall.
Vitantonio Liuzzi was another to suffer misfortune during the session, which was curtailed after he lost control exiting the tunnel, clipping the inside barrier at the Harbourfront Chicane.
Mark Webber languished at the bottom of the timesheets, clocking three slow installation laps before pitting with an apparent gearbox problem that kept him out of the session.
The session was red-flagged for five minutes while track officials investigated the source of a water leak that sprang up under the starting gantry
2011 Monaco Grand Prix – Free Practice 1 Session Times:
|1.||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Renault RB7||1:16.619||25|
|2.||Fernando Alonso||Ferrari F150° Italia||+ 0.113||24|
|3.||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes GP W02||+ 0.520||20|
|4.||Felipe Massa||Ferrari F150° Italia||+ 0.697||24|
|5.||Lewis Hamilton||McLaren Mercedes MP4-26||+ 0.731||23|
|6.||Jenson Button||McLaren Mercedes MP4-26||+ 0.915||24|
|7.||Pastor Maldonado||Williams Cosworth FW33||+ 1.908||30|
|8.||Adrian Sutil||Force India Mercedes VJM04||+ 1.959||24|
|9.||Vitaly Petrov||Renault R31||+ 2.114||16|
|10.||Michael Schumacher||Mercedes GP W02||+ 2.186||14|
|11.||Nick Heidfeld||Renault R31||+ 2.309||19|
|12.||Sébastien Buemi||Toro Rosso Ferrari STR6||+ 2.615||24|
|13.||Rubens Barrichello||Williams Cosworth FW33||+ 2.776||24|
|14.||Daniel Ricciardo||Toro Rosso Ferrari STR6||+ 2.844||25|
|15.||Kamui Kobayashi||Sauber Ferrari C30||+ 3.149||25|
|16.||Sergio Pérez||Sauber Ferrari C30||+ 3.173||26|
|17.||Heikki Kovalainen||Lotus Renault T128||+ 3.464||23|
|18.||Jarno Trulli||Lotus Renault T128||+ 4.497||27|
|19.||Paul di Resta||Force India Mercedes VJM04||+ 4.929||32|
|20.||Jérôme d’Ambrosio||Virgin Racing Cosworth MVR-02||+ 5.139||31|
|21.||Timo Glock||Virgin Racing Cosworth MVR-02||+ 5.196||17|
|22.||Vitantonio Liuzzi||HRT F1 Cosworth F111||+ 6.221||13|
|23.||Narain Karthikeyan||HRT F1 Cosworth F111||+ 7.266||37|
|24.||Mark Webber||Red Bull Renault RB7||no time||3|
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