Fastest lap for Walker The Formula Renault 3.5 Series had the honour of being first on track to open this 67th edition of the Monaco Grand-Prix. After 45 minutes of intense collective testing, with the drivers out to get in as many practice laps...
Fastest lap for Walker
The Formula Renault 3.5 Series had the honour of being first on track to open this 67th edition of the Monaco Grand-Prix. After 45 minutes of intense collective testing, with the drivers out to get in as many practice laps as possible, it was James Walker (P1 Motorsport) who claimed the quickest lap time, ahead of Brendon Hartley (Tech 1 Racing), who can be pleased with his maiden drive on the Monaco track. Daniil Move (P1 Motorsport) did the third fastest time.
It's a full house for the Formula Renault 3.5 Series as Monaco gets underway, with all twenty six cars competing for the first time this season. In addition to the arrival of KMP Group/SG Formula, with Jules Bianchi and Anton Nebilitskiy in the seats, several other line-up changes are to be reported. Monaco driver Stefano Coletti joins Prema Powerteam. John Martin, the Australian driver, replaces Anton Nebilitskiy in the Comtec Racing team, with Max Chilton as team-mate. At RC Motorsport, Filip Salaquadra takes the second seat.
As the first discipline to take to the track, the Formula Renault 3.5 Series drivers experienced constantly changing grip conditions during their collective testing. All drivers started out on old tires and devoted an initial lengthy relay today to getting familiarized or re-familiarized with this very unique track. The day got off to a bad start for Marco Barba (International Draco Racing) who hit the side barriers in the Mirabeau tight right-hander.
Miguel Molina (Ultimate Motorsport) was first to clock a significant time, putting in a 1'33''429 lap. This was swiftly beaten by Marcos Martinez (Pons Racing) and then Adrian Valles (Epsilon Euskadi). Before pitting to change tires, Miguel Molina took control again, clocking 1'30''945. KMP Group/SG Formula had a trouble-beset start to their season. Jules Bianchi was immobilized with clutch problems and Anton Nebilitskiy came into contact with the track side barriers. He wasn't the only one, imitated seconds later by local boy Stefano Coletti. The Monaco driver, in 8th position at the time, lost control in the dangerous Sainte Devote corner, damaging the rear end of his car.
Some drivers, particularly the Rookies, opted to fit new rubber, others sticking to old tires. Filip Salaquadra went to top of the timing screens briefly, before being knocked off by Jaime Alguersuari (Carlin Motorsport), Adrian Zaugg (Interwetten.com Racing) and Miguel Molina, all vying for first place. But by the end of the session, James Walker had had the final word of the day, with a 1'28''290 lap. He leads from Brendon Hartley, Daniil Move, Adrian Zaugg and Jaime Alguersuari.
James Walker: "The early laps always take you by surprise, there's no grip at all for the first twenty minutes. We had a minor alert with a sensor in mid-session, but nothing serious. So we fitted new tires, which we hadn't intended to do at the outset. The track is going to change a lot. The behaviour will be totally different on Saturday in Qualifying."
Brendon Hartley: "This is a wonderful circuit. I've already driven at Macau, and that is still my favourite circuit, but Monaco is on the same level -- The first laps are very impressive. I took my time to get my bearings and learn the track. It all went perfectly. This session was very encouraging."
Stefano Coletti: "It's an incredible sensation to drive at these speeds in the same streets where I drive every day or almost. I wasn't doing badly at the start of the session, but unfortunately when I tried to up the pace, I got caught out braking into Sainte Devote. I had time to get to know the track, I can't wait for qualifying now."