Circuit de Monaco
In hot conditions (26°C), the first practice session of the 2011 Monaco GP got underway, with Nick and Vitaly both getting out onto the famous street circuit.
It was a frenetic session with plenty of action on-track, including a burst water pipe bringing a short halt to proceedings 30 minutes in.
Vitaly went out for his installation lap on Pirelli’s soft tyres and, despite reporting understeer and poor traction, posted a session-best time of 1min 18.733secs, leaving him in P9 having completed 16 laps.
Nick, meanwhile put in a best time of 1min 18.928secs, leaving him 11th fastest after the 90 minutes, following 19 laps of the track.
Both LRGP drivers continued their preparations for the Monaco Grand Prix this afternoon, using both prime and option tyre specifications, also working on different fuel levels in order to get an idea of the potential performance for both race and qualifying conditions. “Our target was also to get a lot of track time with Nick and Vitaly”, says Eric Boullier, “In Monaco, the confidence of the driver is worth several tenths. They have to get used to the track, the lines, the rhythm.”
The target of the day was also to understand the supersofts Pirellis. Evaluating these tyres was key to the day, as a good grid position is always a priority in Monaco. In the end, they seem to be well over a second quicker than the soft spec.
Overall, There were fewer incidents than in first practice, although Vitaly slid into the barriers on the approach to the chicane and did minor damage to his R31 (front wing, essentially).
Meanwhile, Fernando Alonso put his Ferrari on top of the timesheets. The Spaniard led the session for the majority of the afternoon, staying ahead of Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg and Jenson Button, while championship leader Sebastian Vettel was back in fifth.
In the end, Nick just go into the top 10, while Vitaly finished with the 11th performance of the day.
Vitaly Petrov, R31-03 `
Free Practice 1: P9, 1:18.733, 16 laps
Free Practice 2: P11, 1:17.337, 35 laps
Nick Heidfeld, R31-04
Free Practice 1: P11, 1:18.928, 19 laps
Free Practice 2: P10, 1:17.126, 38 laps
Source: Lotus Renault