2012 MONACO GP: THURSDAY RESULTS

Alonso heading for new Win !!!
Fernando Alonso was fastest in first practice for the Monaco Grand Prix as the Ferrari driver ended the opening 90-minute session more than 0.3s faster than the Lotus of Romain Grosjean, followed by Sergio Perez. But the session was red flagged with eight minutes remaining after Heikki Kovalainen's Renault engine gave out in a plume of smoke in the tunnel, leaving a trail of oil on the racing line.

Lewis Hamilton was fourth quickest at the end of the session with Pastor Maldonado fifth as two of the favourites for the weekend showed early promise. The top five were separated by just half a second, but with drivers finding more and more time as their confidence grows there could have been further challenges to Alonso's time but for the early stoppage. As soon as the clock had ticked over to 10am local time, cars flooded out onto a famous Monaco circuit bathed in sunshine, with only Jenson Button remaining in the pits. He finally ventured out 15 minutes into the session but complained of a lack of visibility as his team experimented with a new cockpit position in evaluating a higher chassis for next season.

McLaren also opted to run a new front wing end plate, using a sensor to test loading on the front of the chassis. With the track temperature reaching 28 degrees, Jean-Eric Vergne was the first driver to dial in competitive lap times, pushing hard enough to just avoid hitting the barrier on the final corner. As the big hitters began to get a feel for the circuit, so Vergne's spell at the top ended, first Romain Grosjean then Michael Schumacher bettering the mark. Grosjean was strong throughout the session, but the same could not be said for his team-mate Kimi Raikkonen who failed to set a time after reporting problems with his steering after his installation lap.

While Alonso looked settled and controlled throughout each of his 22 laps, Felipe Massa was less so. Despite being quick and setting the sixth fastest time, Massa appeared to be slightly ragged and fighting the Ferrari much more than his team-mate. The session saw its share of incident, Narain Karthikeyan out braking himself and disappearing down the escape road at Mirabeau, Mark Webber cutting the Nouvelle Chicane and Massa inexplicably kissing the armco approaching Tabac. Schumacher was also forced to return to the pit after a fault in his front wing saw it dragging along the circuit. 
FIRST FREE PRACTICE

Pos    Driver                Team                 Time       Gap    Laps
 1.  Fernando Alonso       Ferrari               1:16.265            22
 2.  Romain Grosjean       Lotus-Renault         1:16.630  + 0.365   17
 3.  Sergio Perez          Sauber-Ferrari        1:16.711  + 0.446   19
 4.  Lewis Hamilton        McLaren-Mercedes      1:16.747  + 0.482   12
 5.  Pastor Maldonado      Williams-Renault      1:16.760  + 0.495   20
 6.  Felipe Massa          Ferrari               1:16.843  + 0.578   19
 7.  Kamui Kobayashi       Sauber-Ferrari        1:17.038  + 0.773   21
 8.  Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes      1:17.190  + 0.925   13
 9.  Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault      1:17.222  + 0.957   14
10.  Nico Rosberg          Mercedes              1:17.261  + 0.996   18
11.  Michael Schumacher    Mercedes              1:17.413  + 1.148   14
12.  Nico Hulkenberg       Force India-Mercedes  1:17.631  + 1.366   18
13.  Mark Webber           Red Bull-Renault      1:18.106  + 1.841   14
14.  Jean-Eric Vergne      Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1:18.209  + 1.944   25
15.  Daniel Ricciardo      Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1:18.252  + 1.987   28
16.  Paul di Resta         Force India-Mercedes  1:18.302  + 2.037   16
17.  Bruno Senna           Williams-Renault      1:18.617  + 2.352   20
18.  Heikki Kovalainen     Caterham-Renault      1:19.039  + 2.774   20
19.  Vitaly Petrov         Caterham-Renault      1:19.341  + 3.076   16
20.  Narain Karthikeyan    HRT-Cosworth          1:20.838  + 4.573   26
21.  Charles Pic           Marussia-Cosworth     1:20.895  + 4.630   18
22.  Timo Glock            Marussia-Cosworth     1:21.638  + 5.373    9
23.  Pedro de la Rosa      HRT-Cosworth          1:22.423  + 6.158   15
24.  Kimi Raikkonen        Lotus-Renault                              1

Button with fastest time in Monte Carlo!!!
Jenson Button made the most of a short spell of dry running to finish fastest after Thursday's rain interrupted second session of free practice. Button, who won the race in 2009, posted a quickest time of 1:15.746 on the supersoft compound tyre, just before rain fell on the Monaco circuit. It meant that there was no chance of anyone else bettering his time, the McLaren ending the session ahead of Romain Grosjean's Lotus and the Ferraris of Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso. Spanish Grand Prix winner Pastor Maldonado was fifth fastest but other leading contenders Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton were 10th and 11th respectively as the weather played a big part. 
SECOND FREE PRACTICE
Pos     Driver                Team               Time        Gap    Laps
 1. Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes      1:15.746            14
 2. Romain Grosjean       Lotus-Renault         1:16.138  + 0.392   17
 3. Felipe Massa          Ferrari               1:16.602  + 0.856   19
 4. Fernando Alonso       Ferrari               1:16.661  + 0.915   21
 5. Pastor Maldonado      Williams-Renault      1:16.820  + 1.074   18
 6. Nico Rosberg          Mercedes              1:17.021  + 1.275   13
 7. Mark Webber           Red Bull-Renault      1:17.148  + 1.402   21
 8. Kamui Kobayashi       Sauber-Ferrari        1:17.153  + 1.407   20
 9. Michael Schumacher    Mercedes              1:17.293  + 1.547    9
10. Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault      1:17.303  + 1.557   19
11. Lewis Hamilton        McLaren-Mercedes      1:17.375  + 1.629   17
12. Paul di Resta         Force India-Mercedes  1:17.395  + 1.649   19
13. Bruno Senna           Williams-Renault      1:17.655  + 1.909   18
14. Nico Hulkenberg       Force India-Mercedes  1:17.800  + 2.054   23
15. Sergio Perez          Sauber-Ferrari        1:18.251  + 2.505   22
16. Vitaly Petrov         Caterham-Renault      1:18.440  + 2.694   23
17. Jean-Eric Vergne      Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1:18.522  + 2.776   20
18. Daniel Ricciardo      Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1:18.808  + 3.062   24
19. Kimi Raikkonen        Lotus-Renault         1:19.267  + 3.521   23
20. Timo Glock            Marussia-Cosworth     1:19.309  + 3.563   27
21. Heikki Kovalainen     Caterham-Renault      1:20.029  + 4.283   13
22. Charles Pic           Marussia-Cosworth     1:20.240  + 4.494   19
23. Pedro de la Rosa      HRT-Cosworth          1:20.631  + 4.885   12
24. Narain Karthikeyan    HRT-Cosworth          1:20.886  + 5.140   10