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Practice analysis - Monaco reluctant to give up its secrets 25 May 2012

Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren MP4-27.
Formula One World Championship, Rd6, Monaco Grand Prix, Practice Day, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Thursday, 24 May 2012 Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus E20.
Formula One World Championship, Rd6, Monaco Grand Prix, Practice Day, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Thursday, 24 May 2012 Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari F2012.
Formula One World Championship, Rd6, Monaco Grand Prix, Practice Day, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Thursday, 24 May 2012 Bruno Senna (BRA) Williams FW34.
Formula One World Championship, Rd6, Monaco Grand Prix, Practice Day, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Thursday, 24 May 2012 Michael Schumacher (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W03.
Formula One World Championship, Rd6, Monaco Grand Prix, Practice Day, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Thursday, 24 May 2012 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB8.
Formula One World Championship, Rd6, Monaco Grand Prix, Practice Day, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Thursday, 24 May 2012 Sergio Perez (MEX) Sauber C31.
Formula One World Championship, Rd6, Monaco Grand Prix, Practice Day, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Thursday, 24 May 2012 Paul di Resta (GBR) Force India VJM05.
Formula One World Championship, Rd6, Monaco Grand Prix, Practice Day, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Thursday, 24 May 2012 Vitaly Petrov (RUS) Caterham CT01.
Formula One World Championship, Rd6, Monaco Grand Prix, Practice Day, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Thursday, 24 May 2012 Jean-Eric Vergne (FRA) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR7.
Formula One World Championship, Rd6, Monaco Grand Prix, Practice Day, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Thursday, 24 May 2012 Charles Pic (FRA) Marussia F1 Team MR01.
Formula One World Championship, Rd6, Monaco Grand Prix, Practice Day, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Thursday, 24 May 2012 Pedro De La Rosa (ESP) HRT Formula One Team HRT F112.
Formula One World Championship, Rd6, Monaco Grand Prix, Practice Day, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Thursday, 24 May 2012

The greenness of the Monte Carlo track and Heikki Kovalainen’s engine failure towards the end of FP1 somewhat compromised Thursday morning’s running, and rain after 30 minutes in the afternoon meant that only Jenson Button got a good run on the super-soft Pirellis. In that session the conditions were never ideal, either for the slicks or for the intermediate tyres. Thus nobody was able to work through their usual programmes to assess tyre behaviour over a long run. We take a team-by-team look at day one in the Principality…

McLaren
Jenson Button, 1m 17.190s, P8/1m 15.746s, P1
Lewis Hamilton, 1m 16.747s, P4/1m 17.375s, P11

Button didn’t make much of his fastest time in the afternoon, which came about after he’d changed the set-up for the better since the morning and because he was the only frontrunner to get a good run on the super-soft tyres before it rained in FP2. He said he was reasonably happy, but clearly wasn’t ecstatic. Hamilton said his car was okay in the morning but he didn’t get a good crack in the afternoon. Both believe the Lotus is very quick and their biggest threat.

Lotus
Romain Grosjean, 1m 16.630s, P2/1m 16.138s, P2
Kimi Raikkonen, No time/1m 19.267s, P19

Grosjean was very happy with his E20 in both sessions and said it suits the track really well. Raikkonen lost all the morning session having the steering set-up changed yet again, and never got going before the rain in the afternoon. He said that despite the slippery track his car felt better in FP2.

Ferrari
Felipe Massa, 1m 16.843s, P6/1m 16.602s, P3
Fernando Alonso, 1m 16.265s, P1/1m 16.661s, P4

A happy day for Massa, who was back on form in both sessions. He said the balance was good from the start and that there was more traction that he expected. Alonso said he felt that the F2012 reacted as he wanted and that the initial feeling was positive, despite the problems with the weather.

Williams
Pastor Maldonado, 1m 16.760s, P5/1m 16.820s, P5
Bruno Senna, 1m 18.617s, P17/1m 17.655s, P13

Maldonado and Senna had minor off-road moments, but basically the former showed that the speed from Barcelona is still there with fifth place in both sessions.

Mercedes
Nico Rosberg, 1m 17.261s, P10/1m 17.021s, P6
Michael Schumacher, 1m 17.413s, P11/1m 17.293s, P9

Despite the overall shortcomings of the day, both drivers felt that their performance confirmed their belief that the Mercedes is well suited to Monaco.

Red Bull
Mark Webber, 1m 18.106s, P13/1m 17.148s, P7
Sebastian Vettel, 1m 17.222s, P9/1m 17.303s, P10

Neither driver sounded very cheerful after practice, Vettel in particular feeling that they hadn’t learned an awful lot apart from the fact that there were a lot of fast cars on the track this weekend.

Sauber
Kamui Kobayashi, 1m 17.038s, P7/1m 17.153s, P8
Sergio Perez 1m 16.711s, P3/1m 18.251s, P15

Good balance and improved traction for both drivers here, though Perez thought there was more set-up work to be done.

Force India
Paul di Resta, 1m 18.302s, P16/1m 17.395s, P12
Nico Hulkenberg, 1m 17.631s, P12/1m 17.800s, P14

Neither driver reported any problems during their data-gathering day in which they got close to a reasonable dry-weather balance on their VJM05s.

Caterham
Vitaly Petrov, 1m 19.341s, P19/1m 18.440s, P16
Heikki Kovalainen, 1m 19.039s, P18/1m 20.029s, P21

Kovalainen brought FP1 to an end when his engine let go in the tunnel and coated the line with oil 10 minutes before the session was due to finish. In the afternoon he stopped in the Mirabeau escape road after going straight on in the greasy conditions. No problems for Petrov, and new suspension parts were deemed to have been an improvement.

Toro Rosso
Jean-Eric Vergne, 1m 18.209s, P14/1m 18.522s, P17
Daniel Ricciardo, 1m 18.252s, P15/1m 18.808s, P18

No problems for either driver, though Vergne said his best lap ended in the pit lane after he met traffic towards the end of it.

Marussia
Timo Glock, 1m 21.638s, P22/1m 19.309s, P20
Charles Pic, 1m 20.895s, P21/1m 20.240s, P22

Glock struggled with understeer in FP1, but got going early in FP2 before the rain and improved significantly. Pic was quick in FP1 and reported a straightforward day as he learned Monaco in an F1 car.

HRT
Pedro de la Rosa, 1m 22.423s, P23/1m 20.631s, P23
Narain Karthikeyan, 1m20.838s, P20/ 1m 20.886s, P24

De la Rosa lost out in FP1 when he encountered Kovalainen’s smoke screen in the tunnel, and then with the rain in FP2. Karthikeyan, however, was very happy with 20th place in the morning, but admitted he was disappointed by the speed Marussia found in FP2.

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