Monaco GP: Mercedes dominate Thursday practice
F1 news: Nico Rosberg was fastest in both practice sessions as Mercedes dominate one-lap pace again
Nico Rosberg was the fastest man around the streets of Monte Carlo topping both practice sessions on Thursday.
In a largely uneventful day of practice, Romain Grosjean was the only man to crash, locking his braking into the first corner at Ste Devote and running wide into the barriers.
In the morning it was all about the low grip surface as is normal for opening practice in Monaco, for most practice didn't get underway until the final 45 minutes of the session.
In a close session Rosberg was able to hold off the Ferrari of Fernando Alonso by under a tenth of a second. Despite his afternoon crash, Grosjean had gone third quickest in the morning with the second Ferrari (Felipe Massa) sitting fourth ahead of Lewis Hamilton in fifth.
The top five were covered by just over a quarter of a second but half a second was the gap between Hamilton and Pastor Maldonado showing his Monaco expertise in sixth for Williams. The two McLaren's found themselves in a Red Bull sandwich completing the top 10, Webber was P7 ahead of Jenson Button, Sergio Perez, Sebastian Vettel.
For the afternoon the teams were much keener to get out on circuit, longer runs on the soft tyres would be the theme for the first half of the session again with Mercedes and Ferrari battling it out before the super-soft rubber made its first appearance since Australia.
A brief period of lower fuel runs would see Rosberg become the first and so far only man to break the 75-second mark producing a 1:14.759. Lewis Hamilton confirmed Mercedes were again the team to beat on a single lap taking second with a 1:15.077, a quarter of a second slower than Rosberg.
The gap to the rest remains small with the two Ferrari's came third and fourth Alonso marginally faster than Felipe Massa. The first Red Bull was fifth with Mark Webber behind the wheel, the Australian two-thirds of a second from Rosberg's pace.
The two Lotus' were sixth and seventh, Grosjean was able to complete a quick low fuel lap before his crash at turn one but it was Kimi Raikkonen who was the faster of the black and gold cars.
Jenson Button hauled the McLaren into the top 10 again ahead of Sebastian Vettel with Paul di Resta completing the top 10 for Force India.
Monaco is known as one of the closer circuits in terms of overall lap time covering the field, this weekend appears no different as two seconds was the gap between Alonso in third to Valtteri Bottas in 18th.
In the midfield battle the order appears largely unchanged, McLaren and Force India battling for the final few top 10 spots. Sauber, Toro Rosso and Williams seemingly a tenth or two back, the advantage of Maldonado's pace around Monaco is certainly proving beneficial in that battle.
The battle at the back is also close, 1.1 seconds cover both Caterham's and Marussia's, Jules Bianchi was the fastest for Marussia .6 behind Bottas, another Frenchman Charles Pic just behind for Caterham, Max Chilton and Giedo van der Garde completed the standings.
Once the initial low fuel runs on the option tyre were completed, long runs on the same tyres completed the session.
As expected the degradation is much less in Monaco despite the much softer compounds although there are some driver's were still reporting their rear tyres overheating and some degradation.
Lotus' long run pace again looked far more impressive than it's low fuel pace, Ferrari and Red Bull are also very strong with Mercedes seemingly not too far off neither with Lewis Hamilton completing nearly 30 laps on a set of super-soft tyres as a one-stop strategy looks likely on Sunday.
Write for GiveMeSport! Sign-up to the GMS Writing Academy here: http://bit.ly/12nAsNY
DISCLAIMER: This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeFootball Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeFootball.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeFootball.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.