Hamilton sets early Monaco pace Lewis Hamilton has set the early pace on the streets of Monte Carlo in today's first GP2 series practice session. The ART Grand Prix driver's lap of 1:23.116 topped the timesheets from JosÃ© MarÃa LÃ³pez and Alex...
Hamilton sets early Monaco pace
Lewis Hamilton has set the early pace on the streets of Monte Carlo in today's first GP2 series practice session. The ART Grand Prix driver's lap of 1:23.116 topped the timesheets from José María López and Alex Prémat.
In an action-packed half hour, the GP2 series made its first steps onto the Monaco street circuit on slick tyres. As the very first cars to run on this Grand Prix weekend, every driver found the track conditions a real challenge as they set about rubbering in the incredibly green and slippery track surface.
Ernesto Viso was the first driver to top the times with his first lap of the day stopping the clocks on a 1:32.433. However it was Lewis who went top on the second tour with a 1:28.106. With the times tumbling Lewis' lap was never going to last long, and Timo Glock put himself at the head of the field with eight minutes gone on a 1:28.044 which he immediately improved to a 1:26.086. With ten minutes gone then, Timo led José, Nicolas Lapierre, Gimmi Bruni, Olivier Pla and Tristan Gommendy.
ART Grand Prix took over the session just moments later however as Alex put in his best time of the day so far to go quickest on a 1:24.289 from Gimmi, Ernesto and Hiroki Yoshimoto who was enjoying his first blast through the streets he calls home. Hiroki's Monaco weekend in 2005 saw him complete not one single lap, and after the disappointments of his first visit here, he was determined to make up for lost time.
Lewis, having seen the pace of his team-mate, put in a brace of qualifying-style laps to bring the target time down to 1:23.401. Leading the session with 15 minutes remaining, he was never to be headed again. It was José who got the closest to him, but in the end the Briton was untouchable and finished with an even fastest time of 1:23.116, ahead of José and Alex. Behind the top three, Franck Perera was the quickest driver, followed by Olivier in fifth, local hero Clivio Piccione in sixth, Giorgio Pantano seventh, Adrián Vallés eighth, Hiroki ninth and Gimmi tenth.
Despite the size of the GP2 series grid and the need to find a clean lap to set a quick laptime, the session went off without incident. The only time any of the drivers got anywhere near a spot of grief was in the final seconds when Giorgio, who was on his personal best lap of the day, pushed a touch too hard into Nouvelle Chicane and spun harmlessly.
1st Lewis Hamilton ART Grand Prix.1:23.116
"To be quickest so early doesn't really mean too much I think. We just have to stay calm and relaxed and make sure we get the set up right for tomorrow. We can talk about everything else after practice and qualifying tomorrow!"
2nd José María López Super Nova International. +0.520
"It's good to be back at the front. I think this has motivated everybody in the team after Barcelona. The important thing is tomorrow, but the car is good and we can hope for top three in qualifying."
3rd Alex Prémat ART Grand Prix. +0.531
"It's really good because I love street races. It was really hard to find a gap because there are 26 cars on the circuit. It was tough, but I will push hard today and tomorrow for qualifying."