Alonso stays top

Two-time F1 world champion Fernando Alonso got his Monaco Grand Prix weekend off to the perfect start by topping the times again this afternoon in the second free practice session.

Alonso, who had been the only driver to duck under the 1min 16sec barrier this morning, improved to post a 1min 14.904 seconds in FP2, and this time he was the only man to get below the 1min 15sec marker. His best time left him 0.109 seconds up on Nico Rosberg’s Mercedes, while Red Bull Racing’s Sebastian Vettel dropped to third, just 0.086 seconds further adrift.

Hispania’s Bruno Senna was the first man out in the second session and initially Nico Hulkenberg set the pace for Williams, before Lewis Hamilton, Vitantonio Liuzzi, Mark Webber and Robert Kubica took turns at the top of the times.

Alonso then set the marker for the day around 35 minutes in, and no one was able to better it, as cloud moved in and light drizzle left the track rather greasy.

There were no accidents however, although a couple of drivers had a few moments, including Alonso’s team-mate, Felipe Massa, who was fourth on the timesheets and who locked up coming into Sainte Devote, the first corner.

Michael Schumacher completed the top five for Mercedes, followed by Renault’s Kubica, Hamilton and Adrian Sutil, the latter just 0.556 seconds off P1, as Force India again maintained the kind of form that has seen them score points in four out of the fives race to date.

Reigning F1 world champion Jenson Button and Spanish GP winner Webber rounded out the top ten, the latter a tenth or so up on F1 2010 rookie Vitaly Petrov. Petrov was the last of the runners in the 1min 15secs, half a second separating him and Sebastien Buemi.

Buemi’s Toro Rosso headed the two Williams’ of Nico Hulkenberg and Rubens Barrichello followed by Liuzzi and then the Sauber’s of Pedro de la Rosa and Kamui Kobayashi. Jaime Alguersuari was 18th in the second Toro Rosso, more than seventh tenths slower.

Heikki Kovalainen was the best of the new team cars, a second further back – and 3.280 seconds off the ultimate pace in his Lotus. Virgin’s Lucas di Grassi managed to split the Lotus’ and was ahead of Jarno Trulli, while Timo Glock and unsurprisingly, the Hispania cars brought up the rear. Karun Chandhok was almost 2 seconds up on Bruno Senna, who according to the BBC is carrying some sort of car problem.

FP3 and qualifying now takes place as normal on Saturday, with Friday the usual pre-Monaco GP ‘rest day’.

Free practice times (combined)

1. Fernando Alonso Spain Ferrari-Ferrari 1m 14.904s

2. Nico Rosberg Germany Mercedes-Mercedes 1m 15.013s

3. Sebastian Vettel Germany Red Bull-Renault 1m 15.099s

4. Felipe Massa Brazil Ferrari-Ferrari 1m 15.120s

5. Michael Schumacher Germany Mercedes-Mercedes 1m 15.143s

6. Robert Kubica Poland Renault-Renault 1m 15.192s

7. Lewis Hamilton Britain McLaren-Mercedes 1m 15.249s

8. Adrian Sutil Germany Force India-Mercedes 1m 15.460s

9. Jenson Button Britain McLaren-Mercedes 1m 15.619s

10. Mark Webber Australia Red Bull-Renault 1m 15.620s

11. Vitaly Petrov Russia Renault-Renault 1m 15.746s

12. Sebastien Buemi Switzerland Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m 16.276s

13. Nico Hulkenberg Germany Williams-Cosworth 1m 16.348s

14. Rubens Barrichello Brazil Williams-Cosworth 1m 16.522s

15. Vitantonio Liuzzi Italy Force India-Mercedes 1m 16.528s

16. Pedro de la Rosa Spain BMW Sauber-Ferrari 1m 16.599s

17. Kamui Kobayashi Japan BMW Sauber-Ferrari 1m 16.818s

18. Jaime Alguersuari Spain Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m 17.023s

19. Heikki Kovalainen Finland Lotus-Cosworth 1m 18.184s

20. Lucas di Grassi Brazil Virgin-Cosworth 1m 18.478s

21. Jarno Trulli Italy Lotus-Cosworth 1m 18.667s

22. Timo Glock Germany Virgin-Cosworth 1m 18.721s

23. Karun Chandhok India HRT-Cosworth 1m 20.313s

24. Bruno Senna Brazil HRT-Cosworth 1m 21.688s*

all times unofficial

* denotes driver setting time in first of two 90-minute sessions

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