Rosberg tops opening Monte-Carlo practice
23 May 2013 – Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg set the pace in the opening free practice session for the Monaco Grand Prix on Thursday morning. The German, who posted a best time of 1:16.195, led Spanish Grand Prix winner and Ferrari rival Fernando Alonso by 87 thousandths of a second, while Romain Grosjean wound up third.
Clear blue skies and pleasant temperatures greeted the field in Monte-Carlo this morning, but it did not tempt any early running. As has been the case at most race weekends this season, a significant lull preceded the first full runs, with Esteban Gutiérrez the first to do so. As the times tumbled, it was ultimately Rosberg who came out on top, living up to pre-race favourite tag attached to his team.
While other drivers took a succession of laps to join the front-running group, Alonso was quick to get up the speed. The Spaniard had been set to usurp Rosberg on one of his hot laps, but a small amount of traffic left him with a poor final sector. Felipe Massa trailed the leading Lotus of Grosjean in the second F138 and was lucky to avoid an incident with Max Chilton when making a late decision to return to the pits.
Brushing aside a mistake at St. Devote, Hamilton finished the session in fifth position, while Pastor Maldonado was the final man to dip under the 1:17.000 barrier for Williams. Mark Webber fronted Red Bull's charge in seventh, just ahead of McLaren pair Jenson Button and Sergio Pérez. Sebastian Vettel rounded out the top ten runners, while Kimi Räikkönen finished back in 11th after a sloppy sequence of laps.
The 90-minute session played host to little drama, with Adrian Sutil's first corner spin in the closing stages raising the most eyebrows. The Force India driver ultimately finished behind team-mate Paul di Resta in 13th position, while the Saubers, Toro Rossos and remaining Williams of Valtteri Bottas completed the midfield runners.
At the back, but much closer to the pack ahead, Giedo van der Garde led the battle between Caterham and Marussia in 19th. The Dutchman finished just 0.136 seconds behind Ricciardo, with Charles Pic, Jules Bianchi and Chilton completing the order.
Thursday afternoon’s second practice session in Monte-Carlo begins at 2pm local time (GMT +2) and can be tracked via the GPUpdate.net live report feature