Bridgestone has warned teams that finding the right set-up for both specifications of tyre on offer will be vital at this weekend's Monaco Grand Prix, after graining was reported by almost everyone.

The traditional Thursday practice sessions provided the first clues to tyre wear around the streets of the Principality, as it gave the teams a first chance to try the super soft compound in anger. Although the rubber had been tested, successfully, during the group session at Paul Ricard last week, the street surface provides a different test of the tyres, and Bridgestone's head of track engineering operations, Kees van der Grint, confirmed that wear rates were up.

"This was the first time we have used the super soft compound Potenza at a race weekend and it provided a faster lap time than the soft compound but with increased graining," he confirmed, "It was the first day of running here, so there will be track surface improvements but, for many teams, the super soft is a challenge to find the correct set-up.

"The soft compound showed mild graining on either the front or the rear depending on the cars' set-ups, and it was difficult to judge exactly what the difference in terms of lap times is between the two tyres, but it seems to be somewhere between a second and half a second depending on the cars and traffic encountered."

The soft compound was used at the Australian Grand Prix earlier in the year, but the unique nature of Monaco makes data transfer a tricky business. Add to that the fact that there will be no Formula One running on Friday, although the support races get track time, and Saturday's practice sessions will take on greater significance.

McLaren's Fernando Alonso made the best use of his tyres to top both practice sessions, improving from 1min 16.973secs in the morning to 1min 15.940secs in the afternoon, Team-mate Lewis Hamilton was second fastest in the morning, but crashed after lunch and could only manage third spot in the afternoon. Nick Heidfeld and Kimi Raikkonen filled the remaining top three spots respectively.

 

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