Fernando Alonso topped the timesheet at the end of a shortened first practice session in Monaco as a blown engine on Heikki Kovalainen’s Caterham left oil on the circuit and brought the session to a close a few minutes earlier than planned.
Alonso ended the session with a time of 1:16.265, just over three tenths of a second ahead of Lotus’ Romain Grosjean. Sauber’s Sergio Perez notched the morning’s third quickest time, just under half a second adrift of Alonso. The top five was rounded out by Lewis Hamilton and Spanish Grand Prix winner Pastor Maldonado.
As usual in Monaco, the first third of the session was quiet, with teams wary of burning up tyres on a ‘green’ track and it was left to Toros Rosso’s rookie pairing of Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne, as well as HRT’s Narain Karthikeyan to sweep up and lay down a little rubber.
When the big guns came out, however, it was Alonso and Grosjean who consistently ran quickest, the pair swapping best times, with only occasional interruption from rivals such as Hamilton.
Alonso looked on course to better his table-topping time in the final 10 minutes but, after posting a quick first sector, his lap was interrupted when Heikki Kovalainen’s engine blew in the tunnel and the oil sprayed across the track as a result meant the session could not continue.
Outside the top five, defending world champion Sebastian Vettel finished ninth, the Mercedes of Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher were 10th and 11th respectively and Mark Webber was 13th. Meanwhile, Kimi Raikkonen failed to set a time after completing just a single lap during the one-and–a-half-hour session.