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Hamilton quickest in second session

NEWS STORY
22/05/2008

Ahead of today's second free practice session, the air temperature is 19 degrees C, and the track temperature is 37 degrees. It remains bright and sunny, with most of the earlier cloud cover having dissipated.

When the lights go green, it is Heidfeld, who suffered a technical problem this morning, who is first out. Coulthard, who was also sidelined for much of the previous session, is another driver keen to get back to work.

Heidfeld posts the first time of the afternoon, the German crossing the line at 1:19.317.. Rosberg goes second, ahead of Glock, Coulthard and Trulli.

Celebrating its six-hundredth GP, Williams has 1-2 on the timesheets when Rosberg posts 17.638 to go quickest and Nakajima goes second with a 18.618. Moments later, however, the Grove duo is split by Kovalainen, who crosses the line at 18.521.

Raikkonen takes the top spot with a 17.390, and moments later he is joined by Hamilton, the Englishman posting 17.518. Moments later, the Englishman goes quickest with a 16.283, Rosberg slipping into second on 16.916. And still no sign of the super-softs.

Replay shows a beautiful slide from Hamilton in Rascasse. It looks great but is costs vital fractions of a second.

A 16.362 sees Massa go third, ahead of Rosberg, Fisichella and Kovalainen. The Brazilian having made short work of a plastic bollard at the Swimming Pool chicane.

Twenty-one minutes into the session, Alonso goes second, the Renault driver posting 16.310. His Brazilian teammate remains firmly rooted at the other end of the timesheets, 3.6s off the pace.

Massa is back on track and pushing hard, the Brazilian improving to second (15.944) having gone quickest of all in the second sector.

"I'm a bit lost, I don't know which direction to go," admits Vettel. However, thankfully, he is referring to set-up not the one-way traffic system in the Principality.

On board footage from Hamilton's car is superb, the dazzling light on exiting the tunnel almost blinding, even on the TV monitor.

Bourdais, currently last, 3.041s off the pace, is one of the first drivers out on super-softs. At the line it's 17.905 as the German improves to seventeenth.

However, for an idea as to how effective the super-softs really are, one has to look no further than Rosberg, who goes to the top of the timesheets with a 15.533.

At 'half-time', it's, Rosberg, Hamilton, Massa, Raikkonen, Alonso, Kubica, Kovalainen, Nakajima, Glock and Heidfeld.

Trulli, having clouted the wall this morning, does so again having been launched into the air after hitting the kerb at the Swimming Pool chicane. He is able to continue, as is Piquet, who damages his rear wing after losing the rear end at Ste Devote. There is talk in Monaco that the Brazilian has a couple of weeks in which to raise his game or face losing his seat.

Hamilton (super-softs) retakes the top spot with a 15.140, then immediately goes quickest in the first sector of his next lap. Elsewhere, Webber completely cuts the Nouvelle Chicane.

With half-an-hour remaining, Massa is on track, on the super-softs. Heidfeld and Kubica are also running on the softer tyre.

Oh dear, now it's Alonso's turn to take the rear wing off a Renault, the Spaniard hitting the barriers at exactly the same point as his teammate. The session is red-flagged as debris is removed from the track.

Within a couple of minutes the session resumes, almost everyone running the super-softs now.

Kubica improves to sixth with a 16.296, the Pole getting all crossed up at the Hairpin.

Raikkonen goes third with a 15.572, having posted personal bests in the first and final sectors. However, all eyes are on Kovalainen, who goes quickest in the first sector.

With nine minutes remaining, Button has completed the most laps (39), ahead of Glock (38) and Nakajima (35). Alonso and Trulli (both 21) have completed the least laps.

Ron Dennis almost gets run over by Lewis as the youngster leaves his garage… the McLaren boss having to jump over a wall.

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