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