The final practice session at Monaco this morning proved to be a productive one for Kimi and Romain, with a good number of laps completed and some useful data gathered on the super soft tyres. The countdown is on to a crucial qualifying session this afternoon…
As the sun beat down on the Monaco paddock, Kimi and Romain flew out of the traps for their install laps moments after the green flags were waved; each on a fresh set of yellow marked soft compound Pirelli tyres.
Kimi remained on track for an early 10 lap stint, the Finn setting the first time of the day as he made up for the time lost in Free Practice 1 on Thursday morning. Romain meanwhile emerged shortly afterwards, firing his E20 straight to the top of the time sheets where it remained until the halfway stage of the session.
With 30 minutes remaining, Romain still occupied P1 with Kimi in P8 as both drivers emerged once more from the pits, this time on matching sets of the super soft tyres. A second and final run on the same scrubbed rubber for both followed, with 10 (Kimi) and 5 (Romain) minutes left to run.
Red flags halted the session a few minutes earlier than scheduled, with Kimi ending the morning in P12 with a fastest time of 1:16.301 from 21 laps, while Romain’s best effort of 1:15.445 from 18 laps saw him occupy P5.
Pos--Driver-------------Team------------------Time-------Gap-----Laps 1. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m15.159s 25 2. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m15.197s + 0.038s 21 3. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m15.209s + 0.050s 20 4. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m15.210s + 0.051s 20 5. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m15.445s + 0.286s 18 6. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m15.471s + 0.312s 19 7. Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1m15.734s + 0.575s 19 8. Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1m15.893s + 0.734s 23 9. Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1m16.110s + 0.951s 14 10. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m16.219s + 1.060s 19 11. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m16.226s + 1.067s 20 12. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m16.301s + 1.142s 21 13. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1m16.311s + 1.152s 19 14. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m16.479s + 1.320s 20 15. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m17.027s + 1.868s 20 16. Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 1m17.055s + 1.896s 26 17. Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1m17.276s + 2.117s 25 18. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m17.390s + 2.231s 19 19. Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1m17.404s + 2.245s 22 20. Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1m18.259s + 3.100s 18 21. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m18.488s + 3.329s 22 22. Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1m19.099s + 3.940s 17 23. Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1m19.147s + 3.988s 19 24. Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1m19.151s + 3.992s 19
Alain Prost has admitted that he has been surprised by the strong form that Kimi Raikkonen has shown on his return to Formula 1 this year.
Raikkonen decided on an F1 comeback this season after two years with mixed results in the World Rally Championship – and has already produced two podium finishes.
But it is not just Raikkonen’s speed that has left Prost impressed, because the Frenchman also likes the way the 2007 title winner approaches his job, and does not pretend to like aspects of being an F1 driver that he dislikes.
“It is a surprise a little bit when I see him,” said Prost, who is attending the Monaco Grand Prix in his role as an ambassador for Renault. “His mentality, his attitude, it is very good. It is still Kimi, and I like him because at least he is not playing a game. We all know him, and if you accept him, his positive attitude and the way he drives is not bad.
“It is not that easy to come back after two years, even if he has done some rallying. It is quite impressive, and he could be quite a surprise this year.”
While Raikkonen’s comeback is going to plan, Michael Schumacher’s return has not been such a success – and Prost admitted that he had reservations even before the seven-time champion got back in the cockpit.
“I was never 100 per cent positive because he has won so much and also because I suppose he really wanted to be world champion again, which was maybe a little bit too high a target,” Prost said.