The Practice Sessions :
The reason Monaco is an iconic race on the calendar is the unique nature of this circuit, some of which could be seen in today’s free practice. Smooth tarmac that stretches across tight and twisting streets, puts the best of drivers to test. With very few overtaking zones, this race sees the lowest average speeds of the season, but an addition to this weekend is going to be the new purple-banded ultra-soft compounds which means more grip and faster times. However, FP1 and FP2 did see tons of drama when it came to drivers lacking grip and skidding off the tarmac.
The Formula 1 cars were skidding, sliding, crashing and colliding all across the track today. The GP2 and GP3 cars had lesser incidents. The prancing horse pranced all over the place while the top of the time-sheets had too many Bulls (RBR and Toro Rosso)!! A drain-cover dislodged and hit Jenson Button’s car, damaging the McLaren in FP1 while Lewis Hamilton’s car slipped off its front jack in the pit-lane causing damage to the front wing.
In FP1 Lewis topped the time-sheets with the fastest lap time of 1 minute 15.537 seconds and he was followed by team-mate Nico Rosberg with the second fastest lap time of 1 minute 15.638 seconds. Sebastian Vettel managed clocking the third fastest time of 1 minute 19.956 seconds while his team-mate Kimi Raikkonen was a full second slower in the 1 minute 16’s in ninth spot.
The drama in FP1 involved Felipe Massa crashing at the Sainte Devote turn, Jolyon Palmer colliding with the barrier coming out of the Tabac corner.
In FP2 it was Daniel Ricciardo who set the fastest time of the session and the day of 1 minute 14.607 seconds on the ultrasoft compound. He was followed by Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg with the second and third fastest times respectively, but both drivers were in the 1 min15’s bracket, with three tenths of a difference between both. The drama in FP2 involved Rio Haryanto’s Manor crashing at the chicane coming out from the tunnel. Following him was Kevin Magnussen who crashed out at the final corner after the Rascasse. Topping both the drivers was Sebastian Vettel who crashed at T1 and damaged his rear wing on his first stint and in the second stint he spun off again at Turn 5 damaging his wheel rims. Vettel’s car was all over the place in terms of grip and traction. Its surprising to see Ferrari at P7 and P9 where their tyre woes from Spain carry forward into this weekend.
In the pre-season tests both drivers topped the time-sheets on the ultra-softs, but the tyre degradation at lower temperatures doesn’t seem to be the same when its coming to the race weekends such as Barcelona last week and now in Monaco. Both cars looked liked they lacked grip and failed to make it to the top of the timesheets, specially in the second session. Something just felt so off, while the Red Bulls on the other hand were all charged with Daniel at P1 and Max at P4. Even Kyvat’s Toro Rosso seemed strong with the Russian following his swapped car in P5.