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Practice analysis - Rosberg set to rule Monte Carlo? 24 May 2013

Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W04.
Formula One World Championship, Rd6, Monaco Grand Prix, Practice, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Thursday, 23 May 2013 Keke Rosberg (FIN) Williams FW08C drove stunningly in drying conditions to win his second Grand Prix. Monaco Grand Prix, Monte Carlo, 15 May 1983. World © Sutton Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari F138.
Formula One World Championship, Rd6, Monaco Grand Prix, Practice, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Thursday, 23 May 2013 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB9.
Formula One World Championship, Rd6, Monaco Grand Prix, Practice, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Thursday, 23 May 2013 Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus E21.
Formula One World Championship, Rd6, Monaco Grand Prix, Practice, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Thursday, 23 May 2013 Sergio Perez (MEX) McLaren MP4-28.
Formula One World Championship, Rd6, Monaco Grand Prix, Practice, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Thursday, 23 May 2013 Adrian Sutil (GER) Force India VJM06.
Formula One World Championship, Rd6, Monaco Grand Prix, Practice, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Thursday, 23 May 2013 Esteban Gutierrez (MEX) Sauber C32.
Formula One World Championship, Rd6, Monaco Grand Prix, Practice, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Thursday, 23 May 2013 Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Williams FW35.
Formula One World Championship, Rd6, Monaco Grand Prix, Practice, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Thursday, 23 May 2013 Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR8.
Formula One World Championship, Rd6, Monaco Grand Prix, Practice, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Thursday, 23 May 2013 Max Chilton (GBR) Marussia F1 Team MR02 reflected in a firemans helmet
Formula One World Championship, Rd6, Monaco Grand Prix, Practice, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Thursday, 23 May 2013 Giedo van der Garde (NDL) Caterham CT03.
Formula One World Championship, Rd6, Monaco Grand Prix, Practice, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Thursday, 23 May 2013

Pole position is all important in Monaco, and if the practice times so far are anything to go by, Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg is clear favourite for the prized P1 grid slot. Should he go on to win, he would become the only second-generation winner in the Principality, following father Keke’s victory in 1983. However, the likes of Ferrari and Lotus also looked very comfortable around the Monte Carlo streets on Thursday as decent weather and a steadily improving track enabled all the teams to complete their planned schedules, a brief red-flag stoppage in FP2 because of Romain Grosjean’s shunt and damaged kerbing on the entry to the Swimming Pool notwithstanding. We take a team-by-team look at the weekend’s early running…

Mercedes
Nico Rosberg, 1m 16.195s, P1/1m 14.759s, P1
Lewis Hamilton, 1m 16.469s, P5/1m 15.077s, P2

Both drivers were happy with the way their days went, though Hamilton said there was more time to come from him and from improving the balance of his W04.

Ferrari
Fernando Alonso, 1m 16.282s, P2/1m 15.196s, P3
Felipe Massa, 1m 16.394s, P4/1m 15.278s, P4

Both drivers were very happy with their cars’ balance in qualifying and race trim, and said they had zero problems, but Alonso insisted that it was still very hard to gauge the true pecking order for qualifying.

Red Bull
Mark Webber, 1m 17.020, P7/1m 15.404s, P5
Sebastian Vettel, 1m 17.380s, P10/1m 16.014s, P9

No fireworks from either driver, and a KERS problem prevented Vettel from using the system in the afternoon. But Red Bull’s winning form in the previous three Monaco Grands Prix suggests they will be very strong on Saturday.

Lotus
Kimi Raikkonen, 1m 17.509s, P11/1m 15.511s, P6
Romain Grosjean, 1m 16.380s, P3/1m 15.718s, P7

A good day and a bad day for Lotus. Grosjean was mighty on the soft Pirellis in the morning but shunted on the supersofts in the afternoon. Raikkonen was strong in both sessions, and will be a dark horse in qualifying.

McLaren
Jenson Button, 1m 17.129s, P8/1m 15.959s, P8
Sergio Perez, 1m 17.378s, P9/1m 16.434s, P12

Button struggled to generate decent tyre temperatures in the morning but said that his long-run times in the afternoon were surprisingly good and that the MP4-28 felt better than it had on previous race weekends and that some previously poor performance areas were better. Perez tried many things in his car’s set-up, some of which worked and some of which didn’t. The team now have plenty of data to analyse in order to optimise the set-ups for Saturday.

Force India
Paul di Resta, 1m 17.548s, P12/1m 16.046s, P10
Adrian Sutil, 1m 17.625s, P13/1m 16.349s, P11

Despite a quick spin by Sutil at Ste Devote, Force India had a positive day in which both cars ran without trouble and were reasonably balanced.

Sauber
Nico Hulkenberg, 1m 18.193s, P14/1m 16.823s, P13
Esteban Gutierrez, 1m 18.754s, P16/1m 16.935s, P15

Sauber reported that new parts were working well, and Hulkenberg said the balance of his car improved as the day progressed. Gutierrez struggled as he spent the sessions reacclimatising to the track on his first visit in an F1 car.

Williams
Pastor Maldonado, 1m 16.993s, P6/1m 16.857s, P14
Valtteri Bottas, 1m 18.830s, P17/1m 17.264s, P18

Maldonado was in great form in the morning with sixth-fastest time, but said that a slightly different set-up in FP2 was not as successful. Bottas spent his day learning the track and reported high tyre degradation.

Toro Rosso
Daniel Ricciardo, 1m 19.067s, P18/1m 17.145s, P16
Jean-Eric Vergne, 1m 18.454s, P15/1m 17.184s, P17

Toro Rosso came here with high hopes, but admit that they have plenty of overnight work to do to realise their aspirations after a bruising day left them further back than they had expected.

Marussia
Jules Bianchi, 1m 19.773s, P21/1m 17.892s, P19
Max Chilton, 1m 20.225s, P22/1m 18.784s, P21

Bianchi was on tremendous form for Marussia in both sessions, and put his MR02 comfortably ahead of both Caterhams in the second. Chilton was happy to complete his full programme without putting a mark on the car on his first acquaintance with the track in an F1 machine.

Caterham
Charles Pic, 1m 19.438s, P20/1m 18.212s, P20
Giedo van der Garde, 1m 19.203s, P19/1m 19.031s, P22

Caterham had enhanced their Barcelona set-up after an aero test at the UK’s Cotswold Airport last week, and Pic was happier because of that and also because he got a decent set-up on his car as the day progressed. Van der Garde was happier in the morning despite slightly damaging a front wing endplate, but lost his good run on the supersofts in the afternoon due to Grosjean’s accident and the resultant red flags.

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