May 23rd, 2013 (F1Plus / Chris Cameron-Dow) - Ferrari have reason to be satisfied after First and Second Practice for this weekend's Monaco Grand Prix. Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa finished FP2 third and fourth respectively, behind only the two Mercedes drivers, but Ferrari appear to be kinder to their tyres and could therefore have an edge in Sunday's race.
Perhaps most significantly, the Ferrari F138 does not look difficult to drive around the tight and twisty street circuit. Alonso and Massa did not appear to have to work very hard behind the wheel, particularly compared to the leading Mercedes of Nico Rosberg. In a race of extreme concentration, a car that is easier to drive can be a huge asset and the settled and compliant Ferrari could prove a race-winner on Sunday.
Fernando Alonso is something of a Monaco specialist, having won twice before for two different teams - Renault and McLaren. If Alonso wins this year's race, he will become the only driver in history to have won the Monaco Grand Prix for three different teams. Felipe Massa is also no slouch around the streets of Monte Carlo, and produced one of his strongest drives of 2012 at Monaco. Massa is still looking for his first victory since 2008 and will see an opportunity at this weekend's event.
This is what the team had to say after Thursday practice:
Stefano Domenicali: “ In free practice for the Monaco Grand Prix, the priority is always to make the most of the time available to run on track: today we exploited all 180 minutes available and both Fernando and Felipe managed to complete a high number of laps, so as to gain confidence in this very unique track. In the morning, we concentrated on car set-up, adapting it to the slow and twisty corners that characterise the layout of this track. Here, one of the key factors is dealing with the traffic and that’s important right from Thursday. In the afternoon session, we worked on a comparison between the two compounds, gathering useful data which we will analyse tonight and tomorrow”.
Fernando Alonso: “It’s always nice driving at Monaco, even if it’s very demanding, because here more than anywhere, you need to do a lot of running to adapt to the track and, in more general terms, get used to a very special race. I am pleased that we managed to get through all our planned programme today, which can’t always be taken for granted here as anything can happen! Even if the feelings are positive and we got through the day without any problems whatsoever, we still don’t have a clear idea of the pecking order in the field. We will have to wait a bit to see where all our rivals really are, because here too, until Saturday, no one pushes a hundred percent: the barriers constitute too high a threat to take risks in the first free practice sessions. There’s not much time to do a tyre comparison here, we did only one and the results didn’t throw up any surprises: the Super Softs are a bit quicker and degrade more. All that remains now is to spend all the available time analysing the data we have gathered to try and find the best strategy for qualifying and the race”.
Felipe Massa: “The weekend has got off on the right foot, the car behaved well and I managed to find a good pace. I finished in the top five in both sessions, which is important in such an unpredictable event as the Monaco Grand Prix. However, we are aware that we still have much work to do. Now we will analyse all the data available to try and find the right direction to go in, because here it’s vital to have a car that is both competitive in qualifying and performs consistently in the race. Mercedes has shown that it is quicker and it will not be easy to get ahead of them in qualifying, but I am sure we have what’s needed to take the fight to them”.