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Friday, May 14, 2010

Monaco Grand Prix Practice Analysis

The teams spent Thursday in Monaco carrying out their usual evaluation of the prime and option Bridgestone tyres (medium and super soft here), and handling on low and high fuel loads, while acclimatising themselves to the new higher kerbs and road surfacing of the Monte Carlo track. The general feeling is that the option tyre degrades quicker than the prime - and that things will be extremely tight in qualifying, both in terms of traffic and times. We take a team-by-team look at progress…

Fernando Alonso, 1m 15.927s, P1/1m 14.904s, P1
Felipe Massa, 1m 16.517s, P5/1m 15.120s, P4
Alonso’s main aim was to get a handle on tyre behaviour while regaining confidence in the track, and he succeeded admirably on both counts on a circuit where he suggested that a major set-up change might find you a tenth of a second. Massa was much happier with his car’s stability than he had been on different tyres in Spain.
Mercedes GP
Nico Rosberg, 1m 17.149s, P11/1m 15.013s, P2
Michael Schumacher, 1m 16.589s, P6/1m 15.143s, P4
Rosberg and Schumacher were closer than they have been all season, though the younger German lost a lot of running time in the morning with a pushrod problem. Schumacher said he got back into the rhythm of a track he hasn’t driven since 2006 but on which he has won so often, while Rosberg said he was much more comfortable back in the shorter-wheelbase MGP W01.
Red Bull
Sebastian Vettel, 1m 16.000s, P2/1m 15.099s, P3
Mark Webber, 1m 16.382s, P4/1m 15.620s, P10
Vettel echoed the sentiments of many when he said it was hard to know exactly where Red Bull was, but that it was crystal clear how close everything will be this weekend. Both he and Webber reported good days, but the Spanish Grand Prix winner said there was still a little work to do on his RB6’s balance.
Robert Kubica, 1m 16.016s, P3/1m 15.192s, P6
Vitaly Petrov, 1m 17.718s, P14/1m 15.746s, P11
Kubica relished driving the R30 round the streets of Monaco, and reported just minor balance issues to focus on, while Petrov spent his day familiarising himself with driving the circuit in a Formula One car rather than a GP2, and then honing the set-up to make life easier for himself.
Lewis Hamilton, 1m 16.647s, P7/1m 15.249s, P7
Jenson Button, 1m 16.692s, P8/1m 15.619s, P9
Though McLaren did not top the timesheets, Hamilton said that the MP4-25 was fantastic compared to last year’s MP4-24, while Button said his car was better in the morning and that changes in the afternoon were less beneficial than he had expected. Both hope to fight for a top three place on Saturday.
Force India
Adrian Sutil, 1m 16.805s, P9/1m 15.460s, P8
Vitantonio Liuzzi, 1m 17.704s, P13/1m 16.528s, P13
Sutil said he was very happy with his car’s set-up and that he didn’t make many changes as he revelled in the VJM03’s poise and balance. Liuzzi reported that his car was good on high fuel loads, but that it needed more work on the balance on low fuel.
Toro Rosso
Sebastien Buemi, 1m 16.857s, P10/1m 16.276s, P12
Jaime Alguersuari 1m 17.991s, P15/1m 17.023s, P18
No problems for Buemi, who said he was very happy with the number of laps he did and the way that new parts on the STR5 behaved. Alguersuari acclimatised to Monaco in a Formula One car, caught a heavy tank slapper going into the chicane in the afternoon, but lost time with an undisclosed technical problem.
Nico Hulkenberg, 1m 18.397s, P16/1m 16.348s, P13
Rubens Barrichello, 1m 17.331s, P12/1m 16.522s, P14
Williams were one of the few teams with new parts in Monaco, and Barrichello had a new rear wing in the morning. Hulkenberg used one in the afternoon. Both agreed it was promising and offered enhanced levels of grip.
BMW Sauber
Pedro de la Rosa, 1m 18.434s, P17/1m 16.599s, P16
Kamui Kobayashi, 1m 18.547s, P18/1m 16.818s, P17
It’s fairly clear that Monaco suits the C29 much less than Barcelona did, but De la Rosa thought the team were heading in the right direction by the end of the day. Kobayashi said his car was really difficult to drive, and clobbered the wall exiting the chicane in the morning, to prove his point.
Heikki Kovalainen, 1m 19.606s, P20/1m 18.184s, P19
Jarno Trulli, 1m 19.902s, P21/1m 18.667s, P21
Kovalainen had a reasonable day, but a gamble with Trulli’s engine life backfired in the afternoon.
Lucas di Grassi, 1m 20.566s, P22/1m 18.478s, P20
Timo Glock, 1m 19.527s, P19/1m 18.721s, P22
Di Grassi said he had a very good day, and that the old VR-01 worked really well round the tight corners in Monaco. Glock had no major problems but struggled with his gearbox’s seamless shift in the afternoon.
Karun Chandhok, 1m 21.853s, P24/1m 20.313s, P23
Bruno Senna, 1m 21.688s, P23/1m 22.148s, P24
Chandhok lost time in the morning after backing his F110 into the wall at Massenet, and Senna made a mistake later on, but both got a fair amount of track time as HRT learned about Monaco for the first time.

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