Practice Two - Rosberg and Hamilton beat the Brawns 21 May 2009
Nico Rosberg eventually topped a superb second practice session here in Monaco on Thursday afternoon, in which yet again the lap times were incredibly close.
Things began with a bang when Robert Kubicas BMW engine expired in a cloud of smoke and flame as he climbed up to Massenet early on, then began a free for all in which Rosberg, McLarens Heikki Kovalainen and Lewis Hamilton, Renaults Fernando Alonso, Brawn GPs Rubens Barrichello, Williams Kazuki Nakajima and Ferraris Felipe Massa variously took it in turns to lead the way.
Rosberg eventually settled things with a lap of 1m 15.243s, comfortably faster than Massas 2008 pole time of 1m 15.787s.
That displaced Hamilton, who had just wound his McLaren round in 1m 15.445s (which when he set the time made him fastest by a thousandth of a second from the German).
Barrichello and Jenson Button were third and fourth for Brawn, the Brazilian lapping in 1m 15.590s to the Englishmans 1m 15.774s. Massa was fifth on 1m 15.832s ahead of late improver Sebastian Vettel on 1m 15.847s in the Red Bull, then Kovalainen headed fellow Finn, and Ferrari driver, Kimi Raikkonen 1m 15.984s to 1m 15.985s.
Nakajima hung on to ninth in 1m 16.260s and Nelson Piquet completed the top 10 with 1m 16.286s. He was followed by Renault team leader Alonso on 1m 16.552s, Red Bulls Mark Webber on 1m 16.579s, Force Indias Adrian Sutil on 1m 16.675s, Toyotas Jarno Trulli on 1m 16.915s, the Toro Rossos of Sebastiens Buemi and Bourdais, on 1m 16.983s and 1m 17.052s respectively, BMW Saubers Nick Heidfeld on 1m 17.109s, Toyotas Timo Glock on 1m 17.207s and Force Indias Giancarlo Fisichella on 1m 17.504s. Kubica did not set a time.
Several drivers went off at Ste Devote without causing damage: Sutil, Massa, Vettel, Webber and Bourdais, while Glock spun there. Rosberg went straight on at Mirabeau, and there was a bit of argy-bargy towards the end of one lap between Fisichella and Massa. The auguries are strong for a fantastic qualifying session on Saturday.