Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Monaco, 2012

Rain makes for inconclusive practice day in Monaco

2012 Monaco GP Thursday practice analysis

Posted on

| Written by

Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Monaco, 2012The rain that was forecast for Friday arrived a day early in Monaco, forcing teams to revise their plans for the second practice session.

Had the rain been expected further in advance, its likely some of the teams would have run the super soft tyre in first practice. As it was, Jenson Button and Kamui Kobayashi were the only drivers to set representative lap times on the tyre.

It also limited the amount of race preparation the teams could do in the second session, leaving them with busy programmes when practice resumes on Saturday morning.

Longest stint comparison – first practice

This chart shows all the drivers’ lap times (in seconds) during their longest unbroken stint.

As we didn’t see the usual high-fuel runs on slicks in the second practice session, the graph uses the data from the first session instead, when all the teams were using the soft tyre:


Sebastian Vettel82.78179.69878.65981.81677.81477.61184.30577.222
Mark Webber84.5379.81378.93878.52283.6680.2878.10683.961
Jenson Button83.85577.55284.76777.19
Lewis Hamilton78.16488.66677.30185.58176.747
Fernando Alonso83.48782.55778.38889.66477.681.89283.60484.6977.126
Felipe Massa77.577.05285.60877.53177.09382.13977.2976.843
Michael Schumacher79.94181.30178.65493.25777.81288.88783.84877.413
Nico Rosberg82.21680.2389.35784.11186.5877.75
Kimi Raikkonen
Romain Grosjean80.06376.75181.69577.19285.98276.63
Paul di Resta80.4888.3880.90884.92478.58286.0281.61378.302
Nico Hulkenberg83.50589.9779.9879.30991.56279.53678.907
Kamui Kobayashi82.878.25681.23977.48992.48877.35777.03882.702
Sergio Perez81.88379.42583.67778.11189.71681.84195.70577.281.051
Daniel Ricciardo80.45879.89879.3478.83480.39179.30278.38881.31181.28579.5879.44678.97880.69678.72678.252
Jean-Eric Vergne82.21179.89478.80183.60278.79179.19179.01578.85478.683.3978.209
Pastor Maldonado80.72280.90377.92977.22886.03576.90489.11776.76
Bruno Senna86.51483.94882.37181.85286.28788.8380.41
Heikki Kovalainen82.80281.30382.69189.36880.11189.72785.26279.63388.718
Vitaly Petrov84.29681.56591.42880.45779.34188.19679.598
Pedro de la Rosa98.36195.52686.79784.65983.96383.37988.00482.71883.15282.423
Narain Karthikeyan94.82192.7587.14282.69382.82881.86981.767
Timo Glock86.59290.87983.82981.63885.65388.181
Charles Pic90.41486.1683.78688.42983.51582.00881.24387.26581.129

“The most important job today was to try and get a decent high-fuel long-run on the super-soft tyre ?ǣ which I don?t think anyone managed,” said Button. “We?ve got to see how the tyre works because its performance will play a considerable role in the race.”

This is going to mean a lot more guesswork when it comes to race strategy. Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery said: “Unfortunately the changeable weather conditions meant that the majority of the field were unable to compare the soft and super-soft tyres as much as we had hoped making Saturday?s practice very important for the full fuel load runs.

“There will still be plenty of data for us to analyse tonight, and we would expect the soft tyre to last for around 50 laps and the super-soft to last for 35 laps, with a difference of about a second per lap between the two compounds.”

Sector times and ultimate lap times – first practice

CarDriverCarSector 1Sector 2Sector 3Ultimate lapGapDeficit to best
15Fernando AlonsoFerrari19.82235.48520.8961’16.2030.062
210Romain GrosjeanLotus-Renault19.84935.72120.9341’16.5040.3010.126
315Sergio PerezSauber-Ferrari19.93235.75620.8571’16.5450.3420.166
46Felipe MassaFerrari20.06235.69120.9741’16.7270.5240.116
54Lewis HamiltonMcLaren-Mercedes19.93135.72121.0951’16.7470.5440.000
618Pastor MaldonadoWilliams-Renault19.95735.67521.1281’16.7600.5570.000
714Kamui KobayashiSauber-Ferrari20.00635.80421.0611’16.8710.6680.167
81Sebastian VettelRed Bull-Renault20.12235.79221.2231’17.1370.9340.085
93Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Mercedes20.10635.91321.1711’17.1900.9870.000
108Nico RosbergMercedes20.27835.87321.1101’17.2611.0580.000
117Michael SchumacherMercedes20.23135.91421.1241’17.2691.0660.144
122Mark WebberRed Bull-Renault20.46935.77521.2951’17.5391.3360.567
1312Nico HulkenbergForce India-Mercedes20.24236.10221.2871’17.6311.4280.000
1417Jean-Eric VergneToro Rosso-Ferrari20.33636.06921.6181’18.0231.8200.186
1519Bruno SennaWilliams-Renault20.47536.15221.5291’18.1561.9530.461
1611Paul di RestaForce India-Mercedes20.60336.18221.4311’18.2162.0130.086
1716Daniel RicciardoToro Rosso-Ferrari20.52936.31821.4051’18.2522.0490.000
1820Heikki KovalainenCaterham-Renault20.72936.61721.6931’19.0392.8360.000
1921Vitaly PetrovCaterham-Renault20.68136.66421.8521’19.1972.9940.144
2023Narain KarthikeyanHRT-Cosworth21.30537.27822.1031’20.6864.4830.152
2125Charles PicMarussia-Cosworth21.24437.30622.3351’20.8854.6820.010
2224Timo GlockMarussia-Cosworth21.31337.62822.5101’21.4515.2480.187
2322Pedro de la RosaHRT-Cosworth21.90937.90122.6131’22.4236.2200.000
249Kimi RaikkonenLotus-Renault29.46347.630

Alonso was on good form in the first session and pronounced himself satisfied with the Ferrari’s performance. Here as in Spain the F2012’s upgrades appear to have brought it within range of the front runners.

Complete practice times

1Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Mercedes1’17.1901’15.746
2Romain GrosjeanLotus-Renault1’16.6301’16.138
3Fernando AlonsoFerrari1’16.2651’16.661
4Felipe MassaFerrari1’16.8431’16.602
5Sergio PerezSauber-Ferrari1’16.7111’18.251
6Lewis HamiltonMcLaren-Mercedes1’16.7471’17.375
7Pastor MaldonadoWilliams-Renault1’16.7601’16.820
8Nico RosbergMercedes1’17.2611’17.021
9Kamui KobayashiSauber-Ferrari1’17.0381’17.153
10Mark WebberRed Bull-Renault1’18.1061’17.148
11Sebastian VettelRed Bull-Renault1’17.2221’17.303
12Michael SchumacherMercedes1’17.4131’17.293
13Paul di RestaForce India-Mercedes1’18.3021’17.395
14Nico HulkenbergForce India-Mercedes1’17.6311’17.800
15Bruno SennaWilliams-Renault1’18.6171’17.655
16Jean-Eric VergneToro Rosso-Ferrari1’18.2091’18.522
17Daniel RicciardoToro Rosso-Ferrari1’18.2521’18.808
18Vitaly PetrovCaterham-Renault1’19.3411’18.440
19Heikki KovalainenCaterham-Renault1’19.0391’20.029
20Kimi RaikkonenLotus-Renault1’19.267
21Timo GlockMarussia-Cosworth1’21.6381’19.309
22Charles PicMarussia-Cosworth1’20.8951’20.240
23Pedro de la RosaHRT-Cosworth1’22.4231’20.631
24Narain KarthikeyanHRT-Cosworth1’20.8381’20.886

Kimi Raikkonen didn’t set a time in the first session and had little dry running in the second. “The steering wasn?t to my liking so the team changed it for me,” he explained. “It’s something you change for Monaco and there?s no way of knowing what it will be like beforehand.”

However Lotus look competitive once again – team mate Romain Grosjean was second in both sessions.

Technical director James Allison said the Monaco-specific upgrades the team had brought for the E20 are working: “We?re happy with today?s performance as we came here with a certain amount of trepidation about whether our cars would be competitive.”

Speed trap – first practice

#DriverCarEngineMax speedGap
14Lewis HamiltonMcLarenMercedes279.9
216Daniel RicciardoToro RossoFerrari279.10.8
36Felipe MassaFerrariFerrari278.31.6
420Heikki KovalainenCaterhamRenault277.52.4
52Mark WebberRed BullRenault277.52.4
67Michael SchumacherMercedesMercedes277.42.5
710Romain GrosjeanLotusRenault277.42.5
817Jean-Eric VergneToro RossoFerrari277.22.7
921Vitaly PetrovCaterhamRenault277.22.7
1012Nico HulkenbergForce IndiaMercedes276.93
1111Paul di RestaForce IndiaMercedes276.83.1
123Jenson ButtonMcLarenMercedes276.73.2
1319Bruno SennaWilliamsRenault276.33.6
1414Kamui KobayashiSauberFerrari276.23.7
158Nico RosbergMercedesMercedes2763.9
1624Timo GlockMarussiaCosworth2763.9
1718Pastor MaldonadoWilliamsRenault275.94
185Fernando AlonsoFerrariFerrari275.44.5
1923Narain KarthikeyanHRTCosworth274.75.2
201Sebastian VettelRed BullRenault274.55.4
2115Sergio PerezSauberFerrari274.35.6
2222Pedro de la RosaHRTCosworth274.35.6
2325Charles PicMarussiaCosworth273.86.1
249Kimi RaikkonenLotusRenault216.963

Maximum speed is never a priority in Monaco, the cars are around 30-40kph slower at peak speeds than at normal circuits.

2012 Monaco Grand Prix

Browse all 2012 Monaco Grand Prix articles

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

21 comments on “Rain makes for inconclusive practice day in Monaco”

  1. One thing I’ve noticed this year is the Toro Rosso guys using practice a lot more than most drivers, particularly when the track is wet. At the Melbourne Grand Prix, we walked the track in FP2 and whilst there were several appearances from all the drivers, the only cars that seemed to be continuously on-track (and they stayed there when everyone else was parked in the garage) were the two Toro Rossos. Why is that? Are the drivers trying to get experience? And if so, why are they the only ones doing it? I noticed it again today when JEV and RIC were both pumping in laps on the intermediates.

    1. That’s nothing new. Often times in the past couple years when the track was wet or changing, Alguersuari would be the only driver on track.

    2. Remember Olivier Panis ?!

    3. Their first win was with Vettel at Monza (the year it was really, really wet). Maybe they feel that their best chance of a race win or a high scoring points position is going to be in a race that is wet so are capitalising on running laps in the wet to collct valuable data in case the rain comes down on race day in Monaco, or at any of the other races this year.

    4. What @us_peter,@hohum and @pjanoshizzle said, and indeed probably the two drivers not having much experience yet. If the team is really only expected to develop them for Red Bull, might as well give them track time. Especially in Monaco too, where getting to know the track is so important.

      1. Let’s not forgot that if it’s just the torro rossos on the track all the cameras are looking at them.
        But I’m sure that’s only a small part (if at all) of why they do that.

  2. @keithcollantine – Can I just ask, is there any data from the wet part of the session only? It would be interesting to see the drivers quickest times on the inters, I know I heard Perez was about 1 second quicker than anyone.

  3. Todd (@braketurnaccelerate)
    24th May 2012, 21:32

    Let’s hope for Felipe, it continues to rain.

  4. The speed trap is all over the place. A Lotus not at the top, an RB8 in the top 5 and a couple of quick Ferrari’s.

  5. @keithcollantine I’ve got a few suggestions on how to make the plot better:

    Just having the lap time dots equally spaced on the x-axis is not optimal, we could have more useful information than that. If session time was along the x-axis, and the data points positioned based on when the lap as completed that would be better. We could then see when each driver was doing their quick and slow times, and compare them to others who completed laps at the same time. In sessions like this one where it rains, the periods of wet/dry could be marked on the top axis.

    Also, I’d like the lap time data points to be connected up by lines only when they are part of the same stint. This way we can see which laps are out laps, which are in laps, and how long each driver is going for on a stint.

    It might be possible to go even further, different symbols could be used for the data points for each different compound tyre.

    With all of these things the plot wouldn’t be any more cluttered than it is now, but it would convey a lot more information. Are any of these things possible Keith?

    1. It might indeed make for a very informative plot, @dvc. But it also seems like a much more complicated procedure for generating these plots (and I can only hope for @keithcollantine that creating these is at least partly automated).

      I don’t know if the laptime is coupled to session time, for example (if not, almost impossible to reconstruct accurately I’d think). Even if it is, you’d then get two problems: One, the plot stretches over the whole session, quiet times will give empty bits of space used, with around it dense clusters of laps, making the plot less clear.;And two, comparing two stints done at different times, but on same tyres, ~fuel load is hard, as you’d need a time-shifted view anyway, that would amount to something like the current plot.

      In addition, automatically determining when a stint is a stint, and when it is two stints is very complicated and bound to need tweaking and even manual intervention. Similar with possibly filtering out back-off laps.

      Then, using different symbols for different compounds: that is easy when the info is there, but it will make the plot very cluttered very quickly.

      Already I find the easiest way to digest these is to “select none”, then add drivers in small groups (either grouped by length of stint, average pace of stint, by team etc.) to see how they fit in the rest of the data as otherwise it is a lot of lines coming together. Putting more information in will only increase that.

      Yes, I too have considered creating graphs like this for myself (and then perhaps create a recipe to generate them), but it gets complicated and fiddly very quickly. And as I indicated, the result is not clearly much more useful in the end, thanks to all those things. So until someone can help Keith get such a procedure perfected, I’d say these current plots are very good.

      1. I understand that doing something like this would depend on the level of automation, and the information available. It wouldn’t be any more cluttered though, and would provide a better tool for people analysing the session performance of various drivers. I think the result would be much more useful. I disagree with your opinion that it wouldn’t be much more useful.

        p.s. I’m a scientist who is trained to produce informative and useful plots.

  6. xeroxpt (@)
    25th May 2012, 2:17

    I think it was pretty conclusive, Lotus is the team to beat, Button is not as fast as he wants to and Alonso is obviously up there and in familiar fashion I dont think theres much more out of that Ferrari, Ferrari just dont “sandbag” also like expected the Mercedes have good pace, if its hot Lotus or Vettel will make pole if its cool Rosberg will be on pole.
    I know about the conditions nonetheless this should be unnacceptable how to make a prototype worse than the dallara chassis, the difference between power outputs on both the HRT and GP2 cars should provide more than .3, the distance between Narain and Cecotto.

    1. If we have seen anyone consitently at the top during quali it is Hamilton. I think Hamilton will be on pole.

  7. Probably a stupid question, but why do the teams have FP1 & 2 on Thursday at Monaco ?

    1. Partying on thursday night, so Friday hangover.

    2. The Monaco Grand Prix date is traditionally set by a religious event, and that entails a Friday off.

    3. It was originally so that the local populace and shops, bakers, restaurants etc could open on Friday and restock before the race weekend (as opposed to having three days without replenishment time in a row).
      Nowadays, with the advent of freezers etc, this might not be necessary any more, and IDR might be right! :)

      1. Noted…..thx very much guys!

  8. Raikkonen for Pole:)

    1. I wouldn’t mind…

Comments are closed.