Pic tops free practice
Campos Racing driver quickest in Monte Carlo
Frenchman Arthur Pic set the fastest laptime of this morning’s free practice session. He lapped the narrow streets of Monte Carlo in a 1:20.556 in the closing stages, two tenths quicker than Alexander Rossi and Pierre Gasly.
The session opened in cool conditions and under grey skies with Rossi being the first man to feed onto the track. However, before anyone could complete a lap, Mitch Evans stopped between turns 2 and 3 with what seemed to be electrical gremlins. The red flags were out and the cars returned to the pits briefly. When the track was live again, Rossi wasted no time to top the timesheet.
As usual on this short circuit, the traffic was heavy, but Julian Leal managed to find some clean air to improve on the American’s laptime while Rossi was back into the pits. The clock kept on ticking and it was then Richie Stanaway’s turn to find some extra pace, driving to the limit and lighting all three sectors in purple to dip under 1m22s, with Series leader Stoffel Vandoorne second quickest.
In the final fifteen minutes of the session, most drivers switched from soft to super soft Pirelli tyres. Raffaele Marciello was the first man to beat Stanaway’s laptime by four tenths, but it was Gasly who broke the 1m21s barrier first. Vandoorne was up next, but remained P2. With five minutes left on the clock, Pic put his head down and claimed the top spot clocking in a laptime two tenths better than his fellow countryman at DAMS. In the closing stages, Rossi moved up to second on his final attempt, demoting Gasly to third. Vandoorne eventually finished fourth ahead of Sergio Canamasas, Marciello, Stanaway, André Negrao, Rio Haryanto and Norman Nato.
With the weather forecast still uncertain and the possibility of a wet qualifying session, no one can predict which driver will claim pole position later today. Group A is made up of odd numbered cars and they will take to the track first at 16.15 local time in a qualifying session split into two groups.