May 26, 2011
Monaco Free Practice
Right to the point: was Red Bull sandbagging today? I'm pretty sure Mclaren was not, Hamilton seemed to be trying but Vettel?
Great to see Alonso on top but I keep thinking of FP1 when Vettel seemed to be able to turn the wick up at will and beat the Ferrari by 2/10 in the final sector alone. In any case, Alonso's pace was promising as was Massa running 16 laps on super soft Pirelli which are supposed to last only half that. Problem for the Scuderia is that Red Bull ran many more laps on the prime tire than they did in FP2. Reports say that most will choose a two stop strategy, Option, Prime, Prime.
Continued after the jump
Couple of things noticeable from trackside. The cars with the most obvious "Engine Downforce", as Lewis Hamilton refers to it, are Red Bull, Mclaren and Renault, this based on the engine note anyway. Mclaren especially, when they have the effect turned up, sound like a buzzsaw from hell. Kind of cool in a way because it means cars actually sound different, albeit horrible. You can actually smell the difference between cars that have the hot blown diffuser and those that don't, It does not smell like any pump gas I ever smelled in case you are wondering!
I'm sure teams brought with them many new bits, I happened to notice Ferrari was running slightly different rear wings elements on Alonso and Massa, Alonso's rear wing, covered in FloViz in FP1. For the second session Ferrari debuted a Red Bull style engine cowl, with a big heat exhaust out back. At the same time they closed some of the heat vents towards the front of the sidepods.
Mercedes looked good, not sure what caused Schumacher to crash, replays looked like something broke as he passes pit out.
It was fun to see who got closer to the guard rails, they turn in so early, it's amazing to watch. I would say the "prize" goes Buemi who stamped a Pirelli logo on the inside of Massenet...
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