Montoya leads in Monaco GP first practice

Montoya leads in Monaco GP first practice

McLaren's Juan Pablo Montoya put in a last minute flyer to set the fastest time in the first Thursday practice session for the Monaco Grand Prix, with a best of 1:17.152. Renault's Fernando Alonso was a tenth and a half behind in second and Red...

McLaren's Juan Pablo Montoya put in a last minute flyer to set the fastest time in the first Thursday practice session for the Monaco Grand Prix, with a best of 1:17.152. Renault's Fernando Alonso was a tenth and a half behind in second and Red Bull third driver Christian Klien was another couple of tenths down for third.

Juan Pablo Montoya.
Photo by xpb.cc.

Air temperature was around 20 degrees and the track some ten degrees higher as the third drivers led out for installation laps. Minardi's Christijan Albers, Klien, Jordan's Robert Doornbos and McLaren's Alex Wurz were quickly on track, along with race drivers Patrick Friesacher and Narain Karthikeyan for Minardi and Jordan respectively.

The Saubers of Felipe Massa and Jacques Villeneuve followed on, along with most of the rest, but it was 10 minutes before Wurz put the first time on the board, 1:23.171. He then bought it down to 1:22.171 and Klien took second, over a second and a half off. Toyota third driver Ricardo Zonta posted third and Doornbos fourth and Klien took over at the top with a 1:22.117.

Albers slotted into fifth on his first timed effort and Klien stayed out to go faster again, 1:20.562 for 1.6 up on Wurz. Karthikeyan joined the time sheet in sixth and Friesacher in fifth, while Zonta and Doornbos improved their times but stayed third and fourth respectively. Jordan's Tiago Monteiro posted eighth on his first effort and Friesacher moved up to fourth, but Villeneuve took the position off him.

Friesacher retaliated to regain the spot, only to have Villeneuve demote him once again. Red Bull's Tonio Liuzzi joined in fifth, then quickly moved up to second, 1.3 off teammate Klien. Wurz retook the position by a narrow margin and Kimi Raikkonen put his McLaren fourth on his first flyer. Wurz then moved to the top, 1:20.244, three tenths up on Klien, then improved again to 1:19.601, nearly a second up.

The Williams of Mark Webber joined in seventh, and Rubens Barrichello's Ferrari in 12th, and Ralf Schumacher put his Toyota fourth on his first effort. Michael Schumacher went straight to the top, 1:19.522 for the Ferrari, but he was immediately ousted by Raikkonen's 1:19.210. Michael was dropped again by Webber improving to second then Klien returned to the top, 1:18.317, eight tenths up on Raikkonen.

David Coulthard put his Red Bull sixth and Barrichello climbed to eighth, then Michael went back to the top, 1:18.284. Coulthard improved to fourth and the second Williams of Nick Heidfeld slotted into 10th. Giancarlo Fisichella was the first Renault out and posted a modest 13th, then climbed to ninth, and Michael lowered his top time to 1:18.149. Alonso clocked third on his first flyer.

Montoya put his McLaren ninth and Massa took 14th. Jarno Trulli started with a lowly17th in the Toyota and Fisichella improved to sixth. Massa went up one place to 13th and Liuzzi, who had been shuffled right down the order, climbed to 12th. At the front Alonso wound up another flyer, with Klien hot on his heels, Alonso taking the top spot with a 1:17.301 and Klien slotting into second, two tenths down.

Montoya improved to fourth and Trulli to eighth, then Fisichella took the fourth spot off Montoya. Montoya retaliated and moved ahead for third, while Barrichello was still circulating outside the top ten. There were a few improvements in personal times but little change in the order at the close of the session.

Michael moved up one to fourth and Montoya put in a last second flyer to snatch the top spot, 1:17.152. The top seven were separated by a second and the only surprise so far is that no-one has been in the barriers yet! Final top eight classification: Montoya, Alonso, Klien, M. Schumacher, Fisichella, Wurz, Webber, R. Schumacher.

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams Ferrari , Sauber , McLaren , Williams , Minardi , Jordan