F1 Monaco Grand Prix: Lewis Hamilton finishes the day on top as Fernando Alonso prevails in rain-affected second practice
Many drivers did not venture out on to the soaked streets of Monaco until the end of the second session
Thursday 22 May 2014
Formula One fans were left frustrated as second practice ahead of this weekend's Monaco Grand Prix was blighted by wet conditions.
A heavy downpour 45 minutes before the start left the drivers kicking their heels in the garage for most of the 90 minutes that followed as they waited for the streets of the principality to dry out.
It was not until the closing stages that fans finally had a full complement of cars on the track, at the end of which Fernando Alonso in his Ferrari finished quickest.
With a lap of one minute 18.482secs, however, the Spaniard finished two tenths of a second off the leading times of the day posted by Mercedes duo Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg from FP1.
Championship leader Hamilton, aiming to become only the seventh driver in Formula One history to win five consecutive grands prix, posted a time of 1:18.271secs, just 0.032secs ahead of Rosberg.
Williams' Valtteri Bottas was initially despatched as a guinea pig seven minutes in, but his one-and-only lap left the Finn reporting the circuit to be "very slippy".
Although the rain had stopped long before the session had started, no driver was prepared to run the risk of heading out and likely ending up mangled against a barrier.
Such thoughts, though, did little to appease the spectators in the grandstands, who had paid good money to watch Formula One's blue-riband event as there were catcalls and whistles at the inactivity.
It was not until 40 minutes in that Sauber's Adrian Sutil ventured out, doing so on intermediate tyres to counter the damp track.
For those opening laps, and as drivers were slowly drip fed into the session, it was a case of tiptoeing carefully bearing in mind road asphalt lacks grip compared to that used on normal motor-racing circuits.
With just six minutes remaining, only nine drivers had set a time and then there were almost 20 seconds covering such a small contingent before the rest of the drivers took to the track in the closing stages.
In FP2, Hamilton was second quickest, 0.419secs behind Alonso, with just three other drivers finishing within a second of the two-times world champion.
Reigning four-times title-winner Sebastian Vettel was third on the timesheet in his Red Bull, just over half-a-second back, followed by Toro Rosso's Jean-Eric Vergne and then Bottas, 0.939secs down.
McLaren's Jenson Button was eighth quickest, 1.239secs off the pace, with Marussia's Max Chilton down in 19th, just over four seconds in arrears.
The conditions primarily played havoc with the finishing order as Rosberg was down in 20th, whilst Kimi Raikkonen brought up the rear as Ferrari top and tailed the standings.
That, however, was due to a mechanical fault that restricted the Finn to four laps and a gap of 27 seconds to Alonso.
It means as far as data is concerned, the teams will primarily rely on their findings from FP1 ahead of final practice on Saturday, with Friday in Monaco the traditional rest day.
Second Practice: 1 Fernando Alonso (Spa) Ferrari 1min 18.482secs, 2 Lewis Hamilton (Gbr) Mercedes 1:18.901, 3 Sebastian Vettel (Ger) Red Bull 1:19.017, 4 Jean-Eric Vergne (Fra) Toro Rosso 1:19.351, 5 Valtteri Bottas (Fin) Williams 1:19.421, 6 Sergio Perez (Mex) Force India 1:19.668, 7 Nico Hulkenberg (Ger) Force India 1:19.712, 8 Jenson Button (Gbr) McLaren 1:19.721, 9 Daniel Ricciardo (Aus) Red Bull 1:19.779, 10 Kevin Magnussen (Aut) McLaren 1:20.230, 11 Felipe Massa (Bra) Williams 1:20.394, 12 Daniil Kvyat (Rus) Toro Rosso 1:20.622, 13 Adrian Sutil (Ger) Sauber 1:20.81, 14 Pastor Maldonado (Ven) Lotus 1:20.977, 15 Esteban Gutierrez (Mex) Sauber 1:21.467, 16 Romain Grosjean (Fra) Lotus 1:21.700, 17 Kamui Kobayashi (Jpn) Caterham 1:21.924, 18 Jules Bianchi (Fra) Marussia 1:21.937, 19 Max Chilton (Gbr) Marussia 1:22.683, 20 Nico Rosberg (Ger) Mercedes 1:22.862, 21 Marcus Ericsson (Swe) Caterham 1:23.164, 22 Kimi Raikkonen (Fin) Ferrari 1:45.509
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