F1 2013 Monaco Grand Prix: Mercedes pair set Monte Carlo practice pace

PUBLISHED: 22:38 23 May 2013 | UPDATED: 14:51 25 May 2013

Lewis Hamilton driving in 2013 Monaco Grand Prix practice [Picture: Mercedes-Benz]

Lewis Hamilton driving in 2013 Monaco Grand Prix practice [Picture: Mercedes-Benz]

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MERCEDES Formula One drivers Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton set the pace in Monte Carlo on the first day of practice ahead of the 2013 Monaco Grand Prix.

The Mercedes pair both live in the Principality on the Mediterranean coast and were fastest around the narrow street circuit today (Thursday), with practice held a day earlier in Monaco than at other grands prix.

Rosberg topped both practice sessions ahead of the sport’s most glamourous race, with Hertfordshire-born F1 star Hamilton second fastest this afternoon.

After clocking 1m 16.469s in P1 for fifth place on the timesheets, 2008 world champion Hamilton improved to a 1m 15.077 in P2.

Meanwhile, Nico’s fastest time in the afternoon session – a lap of 1m 14.759s – was one second quicker than the fastest lap in P2 last year.

Monaco Grand Prix

* Race distance: 78 laps (260.520km/161.887 miles)

* Start time: 14:00 (local)/12:00 (GMT)

* Circuit length: 3.340km/2.075 miles

* 2012 winne: Mark Webber (Red Bull RB8) 78 laps in 1hr46m06.557s 147.312km/h)

* 2012 pole: Mark Webber (Red Bull RB8) 1m14.381s 161.654km/h)

* Lap record: Michael Schumacher (Ferrari F2004) 1m14.439s (161.528km/h)

Hamilton said: “It’s been a positive start for us today and I’m pleased with what we have achieved here in Monaco.”

The Mercedes AMG Petronas drivers completed a total of 154 laps around the Circuit de Monaco, equivalent to almost two race distances.

The focus of the sessions was on basic set-up work, circuit familiarisation and tyre evaluations.

During P2, Nico and Lewis both completed runs of over 20 laps on the super soft compound in preparation for Sunday’s race.

Lewis Hamilton driving around the 2013 Monaco Grand Prix circuit [Picture: Mercedes-Benz]Lewis Hamilton driving around the 2013 Monaco Grand Prix circuit [Picture: Mercedes-Benz]

“We did some good long run work this afternoon and the supersoft tyres seem to be performing well,” said Hamilton.

“I need to improve my one lap pace however, partly with the balance of the car and partly from me.

“The car is almost there and the pace looks good, so we’ll look at the data tonight and work on those areas which can still be improved before the weekend.”

Mercedes colleague Rosberg, who snatched pole in Spain a fortnight ago, said: “A very productive day for us. We completed a lot of laps and I feel comfortable in the car.

Nico Rosberg driving around the 2013 Monaco Grand Prix circuit [Picture: Mercedes-Benz]Nico Rosberg driving around the 2013 Monaco Grand Prix circuit [Picture: Mercedes-Benz]

“It seems that we are quick again on one lap, but we have been working hard again to make improvements to our race pace.

“It will be interesting to see where we are compared to the others over the weekend as it’s not really representative today.”

Team principal Ross Brawn felt it was an encouraging start for the Mercedes team, but admitted qualifying on Saturday and Sunday’s race are when it really matters.

Brawn said: “Today was a pretty good day for us and it’s always nice to come through the first day of the Monaco weekend cleanly.

Lewis Hamilton talking to the press at the 2013 Monaco Grand Prix [Picture: Mercedes-Benz]Lewis Hamilton talking to the press at the 2013 Monaco Grand Prix [Picture: Mercedes-Benz]

“The true test will come on Sunday but I’m pleased with the technical work that we covered in the two practice sessions today.

“Both Nico and Lewis, along with our engineers, did a very good job working together through the programme.

“A pleasing start to the weekend and now we have to make the right decisions for Saturday and Sunday.”

Mercedes director Toto Wolff added: “It was a good solid first day for us: lots of laps, no incidents and good lap times.

“Nico and Lewis both looked quick and comfortable and we seemed able to keep the tyres in good condition on our long runs this afternoon.

“Our rivals will be very strong on both Saturday and Sunday, so we will get our heads down and keep working to build on this good start.”

Monaco Grand Prix qualifying takes place on Saturday from 1pm.


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