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Hamilton quickest in final practice

NEWS STORY
24/05/2014

Ahead of today's free practice session the air temperature is 19 degrees C, while the track temperature is 24 degrees. Bathed in bright sunshine, conditions are altogether different to those encountered on Thursday. However, while today looks to be warm (eventually) and sunny we are expecting tomorrow's race to be affected by rain.

Lewis Hamilton was quickest in Thursday's opening session while Fernando Alonso set the pace in the afternoon however, the lack of running in FP2 due to the conditions meant we were able to get a real idea of the true running order.

Mercedes is clearly the one to beat and while Alonso was quick the Ferrari is clearly a real handful. Red Bull continues to make progress, while the Force India duo were also impressive.

This weekend, for the first time this year, we have the supersofts on duty, while the prime rubber is soft.

There is a single DRS zone, with the detection point located 80m after Turn 16 and the activation point located 18m after Turn 19.

The track has been resurfaced from the exit of the Casino until the start of the tunnel, while small sections before the Nouvelle Chicane and Tabac (Turn 12) have been resurfaced.

Be it the resurfacing, the characteristics of the 2014 cars or the sheer nature of the track there were numerous mistakes however, nobody ended up in the barriers. Indeed, the only driver to really lose out was Kimi Raikkonen who suffered a gearbox failure in the second session.

With so little running on Friday afternoon it is not surprising that there is a queue at the end of the pitlane… Ricciardo leading the way, ahead of Kvyat, Bianchi, Vettel and Alonso.

While most head basck to the pits after an installation lap the Ferrari duo remain on track, as does Ricciardo.

As ever, the constraints of the Monaco pitlane mean that when drivers do return to their garages there are the usual traffic problems. Indeed, traffic is a constant problem here be it in the pits, on the track or just about anywhere else,

Rosberg posts the first time of the day, the German crossing the line at 1:19.213. Shortly after Hamilton posts 19.586 to go second.

Next time around the German improves to 18.143 as Ericsson gets it all wrong at Ste Devote and has to take to the escape road. Magnussen posts 19.305 to go second.

Having improved to 17.736, Rosberg does well to avoid Ericsson who has reversed back on to the track. A 22.437 sees Button go fourth.

Having improved to 18.175, Hamilton goes quickest in S2 before having to back off due to traffic.

Hamilton is advised that he's losing out to Rosberg in S1 ans S3, he's aldo advised that the German has done three consecutive fast laps - a problem for the Briton who was stuck in traffic.

Nasty moment for the world championship leader at Tabac as he gets all out of shape and almost hits the barriers.

An 18.862 sees Alonso go third, 1.16s down on Rosberg, as Hamilton goes quickest in S2 again. Despite traffic in S3 he improves to 17.866, 0.130s off his teammate's pace.

Twenty minutes into the session, the Caterham duo switch to the option rubber.

With the Force India duo yet to post a time, Ricciardo goes third with an 18.596. Raikkonen goes sixth and Vettel seventh.

In the McLaren garage mechanics are working on the front brakes on Button's car costing the Briton valuable track time. The right weather conditions tomorrow could pay off for the 2009 world champion.

Having posted PBs in the first two sectors, Vettel crosses the line at 18.305 to go third, 0.569 down on Rosberg and just 0.005s ahead of his Red Bull teammate.

Bottas does well to keep it together when his Williams gets out of shape in the middle of Massenet. However, it costs him precious time and he fails to improve on twelfth (19.558).

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