Alonso on top while Schumacher gets grilling

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Alonso on top while Schumacher gets grilling

Fernando Alonso took his Ferrari to the top of the timesheets in both practice sessions today at Monaco and threw down the gauntlet to the season’s pace setters of Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber.

In first practice, the Spaniard set a fastest time of 1min 15.927secs, leading his championship rival Vettel, who set a time of 1:16.000s, and Renault driver Robert Kubica’s time of 1:16.016s. Alonso’s other rivals, Webber, Felipe Massa, Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button, were placed fourth, fifth, seventh and eighth respectively.

Alonso retained his pace in second practice, posting a time of 1.14.904s. Mercedes-GP driver Nico Rosberg was a tenth off the pace with a time of 1.15.013, while Vettel’s 1.15.099 was the third-fastest time.

Once again the dual world champion led his rivals, with his teammate in fourth, Hamilton in seventh, Button in eighth and Webber in ninth as the top 11 drivers were separated by 0.8 seconds.

Alonso has experienced an indifferent campaign in 2010 since winning the opening race of the season in Bahrain. He is a two-time winner at Monaco, winning back-to-back races in 2006 and 2007.

Practice for Formula One can seem rather irrelevant now that refuelling is banned for this season. However, it gives the chance for the drivers to get used to the track, and because it is Monaco, it’s an exception. Alonso now has a day off and can walk around the paddock with his head held high knowing he is the fastest driver.

Meanwhile, attention will be on Michael Schumacher this weekend as he makes his first return to the circuit where he famously “parked” his Ferrari at Rascasse, stopping Alonso from taking pole position in 2006.

Schumacher had a difficult session, and that was with the media, as he was constantly asked whether he was sorry for what he did four years ago. “It doesn't change things if we go back into it because we are here now in 2010,” said the seven-time world champion.

The media kept on pressing and highlighted that it was one of the lowest points of his career, but the 41-year-old German swerved the questions. “You made it. Some of you guys. I mean let's look forward and not backwards,” he laughed. “But as I said before I am not in 2006 anymore. I think there is enough said, and I don't feel I need to dig any deeper into it,” said Schumacher.

Schumacher posted times that were only good enough for sixth and fifth. He will certainly let his driving do all the talking this weekend and think about 2010, not 2006.




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