Tag Archives: Monaco GP

Alonso tops Monaco Friday Practice 2

Fernando Alonso led both Friday Practice sessions in Monaco today

Fernando Alonso led both Friday Practice sessions in Monaco today

Fernando Alonso made it two in a row today, by topping the second practice session of the Monaco Grand Prix weekend, as he did the first. This time, however, he was challenged much more by the other drivers.

This session proved to be much more difficult than the first, thanks to slightly damper conditions, as well as traffic on several occasions. Both Felipe Massa and Timo Glock ran wide at Snt Devote corner, for example. Michael Schumacher was repeatedly caught out by the new kerbs at the Turn 11 chicane.

Traffic proved to be a problem again, but not as you would expect. Felipe Massa went too slowly at the last corner, in preparation for the next lap, and Heikki Kovalainen squeezed through. This sort of situation may well prove to be a problem in qualifying, especially in Q1. For Massa’s next lap after this minor scare, he was holding up Timo Glock.

Then, light rain began to fall. It wasn’t hard enough to necessitate intermidiate tyres, but enough for the cars to have trouble. Lewis Hamilton had a moment at the Anthony Combes corner, but just about kept it together. Jaime Alguersuari nearly lost control at the Turn 11 chicane, like Kimi Raikkonen did in 2008, but very skilfully kept it out of the barriers.

Again, Alonso topped the session, but the other drivers were much closer than last time. Nico Rosberg was 2nd, and only one tenth back, and Sebastian Vettel was a further 9 hundreths behind. Felipe Massa was 2 hundreths slower than Vettel, and Michael Schumacher 2 hundreths again back from Massa. Then there was a gap of 5 hundreths of a second to Robert Kubica in 6th.

It was another relatively poor session for McLaren. Lewis Hamilton as 7th, after several near misses today. Jenson Button was 9th, but 4 tenths slower than Lewis. Mark Webber was another driver who was dissapointing, as he was 10th overall, and half a second slower than his team-mate.

The two Williams cars were 13th and 14th, with Hulkenberg leading Barrichello by two tenths of a second. Adrian Sutil again did much better than his team-mate Liuzzi, as Sutil was 8th, and 1.1 seconds quicker than Liuzzi in 15th.

The Lotus of Heikki Kovalainen was the fastest of the new teams. Lucas di Grassi split in between him and Jarno Trulli to get 20th. Timo Glock was 22nd, ahead of the two HRTs. It was a complete waste of a session for Bruno Senna, as his car is in need of the repair, and the team will have to wait until the parts are sent to them by Dallara. It is understood that it is a chassis problem, like Senna was saying last week. He therefore was the slowest of the grid this session.

Times from Monaco Friday Practice 2:

Driver Team Fastest lap Gap # of Laps
1 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1.14.904 36
2 Nico Rosberg Mercedes GP 1.15.013 0.109 40
3 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1.15.099 0.195 48
4 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1.15.120 0.216 45
5 Michael Schumacher Mercedes GP 1.15.143 0.239 38
6 Robert Kubica Renault 1.15.192 0.288 39
7 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1.15.249 0.345 32
8 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1.15.460 0.556 42
9 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1.15.619 0.715 38
10 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1.15.620 0.716 28
11 Vitaly Petrov Renault 1.15.746 0.842 44
12 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1.16.276 1.372 46
13 Nico Hulkenberg Williams-Cosworth 1.16.348 1.444 48
14 Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1.16.522 1.618 38
15 Vitantonio Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 1.16.528 1.624 42
16 Pedro de la Rosa Sauber-Ferrari 1.16.599 1.695 36
17 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1.16.818 1.914 46
18 Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1.17.023 2.119 28
19 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Cosworth 1.18.184 3.28 48
20 Lucas di Grassi Virgin-Cosworth 1.18.478 3.574 38
21 Jarno Trulli Lotus-Cosworth 1.18.667 3.763 13
22 Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1.18.721 3.817 42
23 Karun Chandhok HRT-Cosworth 1.20.313 5.409 36
24 Bruno Senna HRT-Cosworth 1.22.148 7.244 11

Alonso leads Monaco Friday Practice 1

Fernando Alonso set the pace in Monaco Friday Practice 1

Fernando Alonso set the pace in Monaco Friday Practice 1

Fernando Alonso set the pace for the start of the Monaco weekend, by topping the timesheets in Friday Practice 1. However, the Red Bulls weren’t far behind.

In the early part of the session, both McLarens of Button and Hamilton traded times, before Felipe Massa took the top spot. In fact, in the first half of the session, Alonso struggled slightly, having a sideways moment at the Anthony Noghes (the last) corner. However, when he went out later on, he beat all of his rivals with a 1.15.927.

The Red Bulls waited until the second half of the session to go out, as did the Force India drivers. However, in their case, Paul di Resta did not make an appearance, as the team felt they needed to develop as much as possible for this race. Sebastian Vettel went into second place 10 minutes from the end, only 0.073 seconds behind Fernando. Mark Webber was fourth, nearly four tenths back from his team-mate.

Robert Kubica had an excellent session, finishing third overall. He was consistently fast throughout, and was only 0.089 seconds slower than Alonso. Vitaly Petrov did not impress, though, as he was 14th, 1.7 seconds behind.

In the Mercedes pits, Michael Schumacher beat Nico Rosberg this time, though it was no fault of Nico’s. Michael was sixth fastest, 6 tenths behind Alonso, but Rosberg spent much of his time in the pits, due to an unspecified problem with the car. He only managed 15 laps, and was 11th.

Adrian Sutil once again got into the top 10, and once again Vitantonio Liuzzi failed to get anywhere near his team-mate. While Sutil was 9th, and right behind the McLarens, Liuzzi was 13th, 9 tenths slower than Adrian. It was a similar situation at Toro Rosso, where Sebastien Buemi impressed with 10th place. However, Jaime Alguersuari was an entire second slower than Buemi, and therefore was only 15th.

The Saubers were the slowest of the midfield, finishing 17th and 18th. Kamui Kobayashi had another eventful session, as he hit the barriers after the kerb at the swimming pool corner. The crash resulted in damaged suspension and no front wing. Despite this, he still set 32 laps, which was more than most of the field. Pedro de la Rosa set 38 laps in comparison.

The Virgin of Timo Glock was the fastest of the new teams for once. He impressed by only being 3.6 seconds slower than Fernando Alonso. The two Lotus drivers of Heikki Kovalainen and Jarno Trulli were behind Glock, half a tenth and 3 tenths slower respectively. Lucas di Grassi was a further 7 tenths slower than this group, ending up in 22nd.

The HRT drivers filled the back row again. Bruno Senna beat Karun Chandhok by two tenths, but set 22 more laps. This is because Chandhok spun his car at Massenet, and did not set a lap time after that.

At the end of the session, there were 22 cars out on track, which gave everyone a good impression of what will happen in Q1 on Saturday.

Times from Monaco Friday Practice 1:

Driver Team Fastest lap Gap # of Laps
1 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1.15.927 32
2 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1.16.000 0.073 27
3 Robert Kubica Renault 1.16.016 0.089 28
4 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1.16.382 0.455 25
5 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1.16.517 0.59 30
6 Michael Schumacher Mercedes GP 1.16.589 0.662 21
7 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1.16.647 0.72 32
8 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1.16.692 0.765 30
9 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1.16.805 0.878 23
10 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1.16.857 0.93 31
11 Nico Rosberg Mercedes GP 1.17.149 1.222 15
12 Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1.17.331 1.404 28
13 Vitantonio Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 1.17.704 1.777 27
14 Vitaly Petrov Renault 1.17.718 1.791 39
15 Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1.17.991 2.064 37
16 Nico Hulkenberg Williams-Cosworth 1.18.397 2.47 39
17 Pedro de la Rosa Sauber-Ferrari 1.18.434 2.507 38
18 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1.18.547 2.62 32
19 Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1.19.527 3.6 24
20 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Cosworth 1.19.606 3.679 32
21 Jarno Trulli Lotus-Cosworth 1.19.902 3.975 31
22 Lucas di Grassi Virgin-Cosworth 1.20.566 4.639 18
23 Bruno Senna HRT-Cosworth 1.21.688 5.761 28
24 Karun Chandhok HRT-Cosworth 1.21.853 5.926 6

2009 flashback: Tyre mastery gives Button a flawless win

The Formula 1 paddock rolled into their most glamorous venue: Monaco. Jenson Button led the driver’s championship, 14 points ahead of Rubens Barrichello, as he had taken 41 points out of a possible 45. Brawn were still the force to be reckoned with, even if the other teams were fighting back.

Red Bull had upgraded their RB5, including a new double-decker diffuser. Force India had added new front and rear wings, in an attempt to score their first ever points. Other teams like Toyota and BMW Sauber had changed thei cars for more mechanical grip.

Lewis Hamilton crashes in qualifying at Mirabeau

Lewis Hamilton crashes in qualifying at Mirabeau

In qualifying, the first event was Lewis Hamilton crashing in Q1, at the Mirabeau corner, and damaging his suspension. He had already set a time, but was still knocked out in 16th place. But, he also changed his gearbox, and had to start 19th. In Q3, Rubens Barrichello and Sebastian Vettel dominated the session, until Button cam in with a stunning lap to take pole position. The KERS-equipped Kimi Raikkonen started 2nd, a clear sign that the Ferraris were starting to be competitive.

Before the start, Vettel and both Brawn drivers took on the super-soft tyres, while everyone else stayed with the softer compound. At the first corner, Raikkonen lost second place to Barrichello, despite his KERS advantage. For the next few laps, the main concern was how the super-soft tyres would hold up.

After the start, Felipe Massa was trying to work his way up the field. He had qualified 5th, but failed to make any progress despite his KERS. He tried a move on the 4th placed Sebastian Vettel at the Turn 11 chicane, but locked his tyres, and cut the corner. He accidentaly overtook Vettel, and was instructed to hand the position back to Sebastian, but at the same time keep an eye out for Nico Rosberg behind. But, when Felipe slowed to allow Vettel through, Nico made a daring move to squeeze himself past Massa as well.

On Lap 10, Sebastien Buemi was battling with Nelson Piquet Jr at the back of the field. Buemi missed his braking point at Snt Devote, and smashed into the back of the Renault, taking off Piquet’s rear wing. Both drivers were forced to instantly retire. Piquet was furious at Buemi’s mistake afterwards.

Buemi misses his braking point and takes out Piquet

Buemi misses his braking point and takes out Piquet

Soon enough, it became apparent that the super-soft tyres were disintegrating at a rapid pace, after Lap 12. The Red Bull of Vettel was most harmed by this, as the Brawn cars were more easy in terms of tyre wear. On Lap 15, again at Snt Devote, Sebastian locked his rear brakes, went too quickly into the corner, and crashed. Barrichello had the same problem of heavily worn tyres, and pitted soon after.

Button, on the other hand, was able to perfectly manage his super-soft tyres, and pulled out fantastic laps with them even when they began to wear. He soon pulled out a 15 second advantage over Barrichello after the first pit stop.

However, behind Button’s dominance, it wasn’t a classic race. After the first pit stops, the next piece of action came on Lap 51, when Heikki Kovalainen crashed his McLaren at the Swimming Pool complex, due to a lack of traction exiting the corner. His team-mate Hamilton was having a torrid race also. He brushed with Nick Heidfeld on Lap 10, and couldn’t make progress after that. It couldn’t be a greater difference from 2008, and the same could be said about Jenson Button.

Jenson Button takes one step further to please the fans!

Jenson Button takes one step further to please the fans!

Despite Kazuki Nakajima crashing on the last lap at Mirabeau, nothing could stop Button taking the win. Once he crossed the line, he shouted the famous line: “Monaco baby, yeah!” The only mistake he made all day was after the finish, when he accidentaly parked his car in parc ferme, instead of on the main straight like the top 3 finishers in Monaco are supposed to do. He therefore got out of his car, and ran down the pit straight to the podium! It was an unusual ending to the race for Prince Albert 2nd, who was forced to wait with Barrichello and Raikkonen at the podium while Button casually legged it!

Jenson Button celebrates with Nick Fry after the race

Jenson Button celebrates with Nick Fry after the race

This victory gave Button plenty of records. He now held the third best-ever start to a season in F1, with 5 wins and 1 third place in 6 races. It was also the first time in modern F1 that a single engine won 3 races in a row, the first time since the 1950’s. Also, this was the first time since 2006 that a driver had won 3 races in a row.

Button now stretched out his lead in the standings, with 51 points compared to Barrichello’s 35. Vettel was a further 8 back on 23, while Mark Webber and Jarno Trulli had 19.5 and 14.5 respectively. Brawn now had 86 constructor’s points, ahead of Red Bull (42.5), Toyota (26.5), Ferrari (17) and McLaren (13).

Next up was Turkey, where Button would aim to equal the greatest start to the first 7 races of an F1 season.

Here is the official race review:

Bridgestone announce tyre compounds for next 4 races

Bridgestone tyres

Bridgestone tyres

Bridgestone have announced the tyre compounds that they will bring to the next 4 races after Australia and Malaysia.

For all of these 4 Grands Prix, there will be one compound step in between the two that are brought. In the cases of China, Spain and Turkey, Bridgestone will be supplying hard and soft compounds. However, for the first time, the cars in Monaco will use the medium tyres, as well as the super-softs.

Clearly by putting in a compound step, Bridgestone are trying to increase the difference in performance between the two tyres, and thereby improve the racing. The problem lies in that the harder of the two tyre compounds can mostly be used for a large portion of the race, without dangerous amounts of wear.

There are two main solutions here. One, suggested by many, is to make the harder tyres less durable, so there would be more of a variety in tyre strategy. This makes sense in theory, but it is a monumental waste of tyres when you consider that Bridgestone are trying to be environmentally friendly.

The other solution, one that I think would be much better, is to bring in the old 2005 rule of using one set of tyres for the entire race. This would significantly improve Formula 1’s environmental record, as well as clear up the problem of changes in car performance across the race because of tyre compounds. Of course, a pit stop would be available for an instance of extreme and dangerous tyre wear.

Here is the table for tyre compounds used already, and for the next few races:

Race 2009 compounds 2010 compounds
Bahrain Medium/Super-soft Medium/Super-soft
Australia Medium/Super-soft Hard/Soft
Malaysia Hard/Soft Hard/Soft
China Medium/Super-soft Hard/Soft
Spain Hard/Soft Hard/Soft
Monaco Medium/Super-soft Medium/Super-soft
Turkey Hard/Soft Hard/Soft