Nico Rosberg fastest in frenetic opening practice session at Monaco
Nico Rosberg has ended a frenetic opening practice session fastest overall for Mercedes, despite a slow start to proceedings around the Monte-Carlo street circuit. The German driver was followed at the top of the timing sheets by Fernando Alonso in the Ferrari and Romain Grosjean in the Lotus.
The Formula 1 paddock reconvened in glorious sunshine over the Monte-Carlo street circuit for the opening practice session of the Monaco Grand Prix, with many eagerly anticipating a frenetic weekend ahead. However, the opening practice session of the weekend was slow to get fully underway, as the first 30 minutes witnessed very little track action as the teams and drivers elected to carry out many installation laps.
Initially the Sauber duo of Esteban Gutierrez and Nico Hulkenberg were the first two drivers to take to the Monte-Carlo street circuit, with the former eventually becoming the first driver to set a timed lap with a 01:29.219. The Mexican ace then traded the fastest time with the Toro Rosso of Daniel Ricciardo, with the duo eventually working the benchmark down to a 01:19.753 after many laps of swapping fastest times at the top. The battle between Daniel Ricciardo and Esteban Gutierrez was brought to an abrupt conclusion when Felipe Massa stormed to the top with a 01:18.818.
The Brazilian driver then proceeded to improve upon his time at the top, with a 01:17.685 before he dangerously decided to enter the pit-lane by cutting straight across the path of Max Chilton. The Marussia driver was forced to stamp upon the brakes to avoid colliding with Felipe Massa, who’s reign at the top was brought to a conclusion by the Mercedes of Nico Rosberg with a 01:17.005. Fernando Alonso momentarily rose to the top for Ferrari with a 01:16.842, before the German ace stormed back to the top whereas his team-mate Lewis Hamilton ran wide at Turn 1 and luckily avoided the tyre barrier.
Mark Webber also narrowly avoided an incident into Turn 1, as the two-time Monaco Grand Prix winner out-broke himself at Turn 1 and was luckily able to rejoin the circuit. Turn 1 remained a challenge throughout the closing stages of the session, as Adrian Sutil miraculously avoided a large incident as he spun and just kissed the tyre barrier with his rear-wing endplate. The German driver was able to return to the pits under his own steam, after what could well have been a session-ending incident.
Despite the frenetic conclusion to the opening practice session of the Monaco Grand Prix weekend, Nico Rosberg managed to remain at the top of the timing sheets for Mercedes with his time of a 01:16.195 remaining unchallenged in the closing stages. The German driver was followed by the Ferrari of Fernando Alonso and the Lotus of Romain Grosjean, who just managed to rise into the top three during the final minutes of the session. The teams and drivers will return to the Monte-Carlo street circuit later in the day, for the second practice session of the weekend.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps 1. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m16.195s 30 2. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m16.282s + 0.087s 26 3. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m16.380s + 0.185s 20 4. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m16.394s + 0.199s 22 5. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m16.469s + 0.274s 27 6. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m16.993s + 0.798s 26 7. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m17.020s + 0.825s 26 8. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m17.129s + 0.934s 28 9. Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1m17.378s + 1.183s 24 10. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m17.380s + 1.185s 22 11. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m17.509s + 1.314s 25 12. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m17.548s + 1.353s 26 13. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m17.625s + 1.430s 20 14. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1m18.193s + 1.998s 25 15. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m18.454s + 2.259s 24 16. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m18.754s + 2.559s 27 17. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1m18.830s + 2.635s 27 18. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m19.067s + 2.872s 24 19. Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1m19.203s + 3.008s 20 20. Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1m19.438s + 3.243s 27 21. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1m19.773s + 3.578s 19 22. Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1m20.225s + 4.030s 20
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