Alonso quickest in a session compromised by track conditions


Ahead of today's second session the air temperature is 19 degrees C, whilst the track temperature is 24 degrees. While the rain threatened during the closing stages of FP1 it wasn't until around forty-five minutes ago that the weather gods finally let rip, hitting the playground of the rich and (in)famous with a hailstorm of biblical proportions.

While the rain has now stopped, the track remains wet and there is the threat of further downpours to follow.

Lewis Hamilton was quickest this morning edging out teammate Nico Rosberg by just 0.032s. Daniel Ricciardo was third quickest, ahead of Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel.

As ever there were problems with traffic (lots of it) and grip (lack of it) and while there were plenty of spins nobody ended up in the barriers.

This weekend, for the first time this year, we have the supersofts on duty, though it is unlikely we are going to see them just yet.

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 conundrum facing the teams is that while there could be rain on Sunday it is almost certain - according to the weathermen - to be hot and dry tomorrow. There remains a forty percent chance of further rain over the next ninety minutes.

The lights go green but there is no rush to get to work.

Five minutes later an engine fires up and shortly after Bottas heads down the pitlane on a set of inters. Having tip-toed his way around the famous track the Finn heads back to his garage.

Asked about the conditions, the Finn replies that it's "very slippery".

Thirty minutes into the session Bottas remains the only driver to have made an appearance. However, the good news is that a dry line is beginning to emerge.

With 51:05 remaining, Sutil heads down the pitlane, watched carefully by his twenty-one rivals. He is subsequently joined by Kvyat.

While Sutil returns to the pits Kvyat stays out to post a 1:44.982. Elsewhere, Vergne and Alonso leave the pits.

Vergne goes quickest with a 42.484 only to be demoted when his Russian teammate strops the clock at 38.935. Raikkonen and the McLaren duo get to work.

As Alonso goes third (39.613) the Red Bull duo head down the pitlane. It is still quite wet so nobody will be wanting to take any unnecessary risks.

As Kvyat gets it all wrong at Ste Devote Alonso has a moment at Casino and teammate Raikkonen who slows on the pit straight with some sort of technical issue. Alonso, who had just gone quickest (36.038) dives into the pits.

A 35.896 sees Vettel take the top spot as we ride on-board with Magnussen. As the Dane goes quickest (35.805) we appear to be getting close to the time when the drivers can switch to dry tyres.

Button momentarily goes quickest only to be demoted by Vettel (33.780), while in the Ferrari garage Raikkonen is out of his car and loosening his overalls. It doesn't look good for the Iceman.

Replay shows Ricciardo clouting a front-left wheelman as he enters his pit, the price one often pays in the ludicrously tight confines of the Monaco pitlane.

Button posts 32.423 to go quickest ahead of Vettel, Alonso, Bianchi, Kvyat and Chilton.

With thirty minutes remaining there are just nine times on the doors with nine drivers yet to make an appearance. Among them the Mercedes and Lotus duos.

Still on the inters Button goes quickest in S1 then again in S2, finally crossing the line at 31.594, almost a second quicker than Vettel.

Ferrari confirms that Raikkonen suffered a gearbox failure.

Finally out on track, Hamilton is told that he will complete one lap before making a practice pit stop at which point he'll switch to slicks.

As it happens, he doesn't switch to dry tyres instead sticking with the inters. He goes out again, completes another lap and another stop before heading out yet again on inters. Clearly, either Hamilton or his team don't feel it is the right time to make the switch. Teammate Rosberg adopts a similar strategy.

With 11:00 remaining, Vergne is the first driver to make the switch, the Frenchman fitting the prime (soft) rubber. Moments later, Hulkenberg emerges on a set of options.

As one would expect, Vergne goes quickest in S1 then again in S2. As he crosses the line at 26.002, 5.592s quicker than the previous best, Kvyat, Chilton And a whole host of others fit the options.

Surprisingly, Hulkenberg is slower, crossing the line at 26.378. The German's lap looked a lot more aggressive than the Frenchman's.

Perez posts 24.659 but this is quickly beaten by Hulkenberg who, on his second hot lap on the supersofts, posts 22.699.

A 22.047s sees Alonso go quickest as all but his Ferrari teammate are on track, all on the option rubber.

Next time around Alonso improves with a 19.498 as Vettel slows to a crawl in an attempt to find some clear air.

Hamilton goes second (20.019), ahead of Bottas and Hulkenberg. Moments later Vettel goes second (19.829) as Ericsson is jammed against the barriers at Portier.

The bit firmly between his teeth, Alonso improves with an 18.482 with Hamilton posting 18.901 moments later.

We might have had to wait but when it came the action was fast and furious.

Alonso is quickest, ahead of Hamilton, Vettel, Vergne, Bottas, Perez, Hulkenberg, Button, Ricciardo and Magnussen.

Massa is eleventh, ahead of Kvyat, Sutil, Maldonado, Gutierrez, Grosjean, Kobayashi, Bianchi, Chilton, Rosberg, Ericsson and Raikkonen.

Check out our Thursday gallery, here.

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Published: 22/05/2014
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