24 May 2012 09:40 GMT
Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso set the pace from Lotus’s Romain Grosjean and Sauber’s Sergio Perez in first practice at the Monaco Grand Prix.
The Spaniard managed a lap 0.365 seconds quicker than Grosjean.
Perez was 0.081 secs behind the Frenchman and McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton was 0.036 secs further back in fourth.
The session came to a premature end when the engine in Heikki Kovalainen’s Caterham blew up in the tunnel with seven minutes remaining.
Williams driver Pastor Maldonado, who won the last race in Spain, was fifth, ahead of Ferrari’s Felipe Massa, Sauber’s Kamui Kobayashi, McLaren’s Jenson Button, Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel and Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg.
“This year’s racing is really competitive,” said BBC F1 technical analyst Gary Anderson. “That’s seven different cars in the top 10 and any one of those guys could win the race.
“The car is going well at the moment. It is important to have a car you are confident with”
“It bodes so well for the different chassis having some success. We’ve got two Ferraris, Saubers and McLarens up there. The first Red Bull comes in ninth. Even Lotus and Williams are looking strong.”
Alonso, Grosjean and Hamilton swapped fastest times throughout the session, with the Lotus going fastest, then the Ferrari, before Hamilton took top spot.
Grosjean then took it back, before Alonso finally grabbed it for good with a lap in one minute 16.265 seconds.
The times confirmed the impressions from out on the track, where the three cars looked especially impressive.
Two-time world champion Mika Hakkinen, watching at the second Swimming Pool chicane, told Anderson: “Monaco is a difficult circuit to drive because the barriers are so close.
“You need to have the perfect run and have maximum concentration to get a good lap. It looks like the Lotus is really strong here. Nico Rosberg is looking confident as well but it’s still too early to say.”
Grosjean said: “I like Monaco. I like the track; it’s good fun. The car is going well at the moment and let’s see what we can do later on. It is important to have a car you are confident with.”
Grosjean’s team-mate Kimi Raikkonen failed to set a lap time. He came back to the pits after just one lap to complain that the steering on his Lotus was not to his liking. The team spent the rest of the session changing it.
BBC 5 live analyst Jaime Alguersuari said: “It’s not the best session for Kimi Raikkonen, especially as he’s been away for Formula 1 for two years.
“But I don’t think he will struggle to get the rhythm back. He has a good car.
“He just needs to be mature enough to get through FP2 without a problem and get lots of laps ready for Saturday.” The only other incident involved Michael Schumacher, who damaged the front wing of his Mercedes on the kerbs at the harbour-front chicane.
Fernando Alonso was born on July 29th, 1981 according to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fernando_Alonso
July 29th, 1981
7 + 29 +2+0+1+1 = 40 = his personal year (from July 29th, 2011 to July 28th, 2012) = I could use some help.
40 year + 4 (April) = 44 = his personal month = It is what it is.
44 month + 27 (27th of the month) = 71 = his personal day = Job well done.
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