Monte Carlo barriers unscathed after opening session
The chicane was a popular place for minor mishaps this morning as cars ventured out on to the green surface of Monacos streets for the first time, ahead of this weekend's Grand Prix.
Alexander Wurz, Ricardo Zonta, Patrick Friesacher, Christijan Albers, David Coulthard, Jarno Trulli, Nick Heidfeld, Tiago Monteiro, Narain Karthikeyan and Fernando Alonso, to name but 10, missed their apexes there during the course of the hour-long session. But only Klien, who went off the road in Ste Devote, actually ventured off course, and he did not touch anything with his Star Wars-liveried Red Bull.
The Austrian was one of the stars of the morning, lapping in 1m 17.511s to set the third fastest time. Juan Pablo Montoya was the quickest, for McLaren, with a lap of 1m 17.152s which nudged Fernando Alonso down a place after his 1m 17.301s best. These times compare with Jarno Trullis 2004 pole position time of 1m 13.985s, set when the track had plenty of rubber down.
With Michael Schumacher fourth on 1m 17.640s ahead of Giancarlo Fisichella on 1m 17.869s, it was tight at the top and this bodes well for a very competitive weekend.
Alexander Wurz was within a second of the best time with 1m 18.059s, the Austrian bearing no signs of the high-speed accident he suffered during the Paul Ricard tests last week following a tyre failure.
He was followed by Mark Webber, who waited until much of the session was over before banging in 1m 18.244s for Williams, then came Ralf Schumacher as the leading Toyota driver on 1m 18.482s, David Coulthard on 1m 18.669s for Red Bull and Rubens Barrichello for Ferrari on 1m 18.838s to complete the top 10.
Nick Heidfeld was the last runner under 1m 19s with 1m 18.859s in his Williams, and Spanish winner Kimi Raikkonen was content with 1m 19.055s to stay ahead of Trullis 1m 19.255s and Jacques Villeneuves 1m 19.755s in the Sauber. The French-Canadian was ahead of Vitantonio Liuzzi, who lapped the third Red Bull in 1m 19.844s while acclimatising himself to the track from the cockpit of a Formula One car after winning last years F3000 race here.
Felipe Massa was 16th with 1m 20.180s, then came Ricardo Zonta (1m 20.979s), Robert Doornbos (1m 21.511s), Patrick Friesacher (1m 21.968s), Tiago Monteiro (1m 22.388s), Karthikeyan (1m 23.521s) and Albers (1m 25.664s).
Times will continue to fall this afternoon, as the track gets grippier.