Fernando Alonso felt Ferrari made a good start to the Monaco Grand Prix today, reporting that his first impressions of the F2012 are 'quite positive'.
Alonso, who is currently joint top in the drivers' championship, began by setting the pace this morning in first practice, finishing the session 0.365 seconds up on Romain Grosjean. The Spaniard ended the second session near the front too, with the fourth best time overall, although rain did mean almost all the dry running was limited to the first 15 or so minutes.
“For we drivers, Thursday in Monaco provides the best opportunity to reacquaint ourselves with a very unique track. The more you go round, the more you gain confidence and the harder you can push to bring the lap time down. This morning, we were able to get through our planned programme without any trouble, but in the afternoon, the rain came to spoil our plans and those of the others too,” Alonso said.
“We weren't able to even fit the Supersoft and only [Jenson] Button was able to find the right window to make the most of the Option, which is how he set the fastest time. Now, we must see what the weather will be like on Saturday morning: if it turns out to be dry then maybe we will do more laps than usual, but even if it rains we will have to do work aimed at the race. In fact, it's not as though we understood much more when on the Intermediates, given that the track was only damp in places and so it wasn't very representative. We can't control the weather, we can only adapt to it as it changes.
“As for the car, I would say the first impressions are quite positive: everything seems to respond as we would expect. We only made a few small modifications to the set-up, trying to improve it, but it's obviously too early to draw any conclusions.
“Let's say the weekend has got off on the right foot for us: now we must try and keep going down this path.”
Felipe Massa meanwhile was similarly frustrated by the rain, although he too was encouraged by the car, ending FP1 in sixth and FP2 in third.
“We weren't able to do as much running as we would have liked because of the light rain that fell this afternoon, but all the same, I am happy with the way things went on this Monaco Thursday,” stated the Brazilian. “The car seemed to me to be okay right from the start of the first session, with a good balance in all conditions and with slightly better traction than we had expected. Even when we ran the Intermediates in the final part of the second session, the feeling was still positive.
“As for the tyres, we didn't even fit the Supersoft, therefore we can't say anything about their behaviour, while the Softs worked well, also in terms of their degradation. Sure, there is still plenty of work to do to fine tune all the set-up details, but we have an extra day to think about what to do to improve in this area. It's hard to make predictions about qualifying and, even more so for the race, but definitely we can say the first day of free practice can be considered a positive one.”