• Monaco Grand Prix - FP1

Alonso sets early Monaco pace

ESPNF1 Staff
May 13, 2010 « McLaren set to sparkle at Monaco | »
Fernando Alonso edged Sebastian Vettel to the fastest time © Sutton Images

Fernando Alonso got his Monaco Grand Prix off to a solid start, topping the timesheets in his Ferrari ahead of the Red Bull of Sebastian Vettel and the Renault of Robert Kubica.

With plenty more rubber set to go down on the surface of the track before qualifying and differing fuel loads in the cars, the times should be seen as a cursory guide rather than a confirmation of the cars' form. However, it does appear as though the Red Bull's are a little less comfortable on the tight and twisty 2 mile circuit, with Webber - fourth fastest - making mistakes on a heavy fuel load while Vettel's car was very out of shape at some points.

Kubica was also working hard behind the wheel and looks likely to mix it with the top eight this weekend, as the aerodynamic deficiencies of his Renault are masked by the Monaco circuit. In fifth, Felipe Massa looked more comfortable with his car than in recent weeks, sliding it from corner to corner and holding the No. 1 spot early in the session.

Michael Schumacher set the sixth fastest time and was again ahead of his team-mate Nico Rosberg. Mercedes has brought its shorter wheelbase chassis to Monaco - used in the opening rounds of the season - but despite scoring two podiums with it in Malaysia and China, Rosberg spent most of his morning making adjustments in the garage.

The McLarens of Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton traded fastest times during the first hour, but settled into heavy fuel runs in the final 30 minutes to finish seventh and eighth. They were ahead of Adrian Sutil and Sebastian Buemi, who rounded out the top ten and were the last of the drivers to get within a second of Alonso's time.

It was a tough session for the rookies as they tried to get to grips with the track while staying out of the way of faster cars. Karun Chandhok's morning lasted just six laps before he lost the rear end heading into Casino Square and scraped his rear wing along the barrier. There was no major damage but the mistake prevented him playing any further part in the session.

More dramatic, was Kamui Kobayashi's crash at the Swimming Pool that saw him understeer over the kerbing, take flight, and bury the front of his car in the barriers. He was able to get back to the pits but Sauber will have plenty of work to do to get the car ready for free practice two this afternoon.