Fernando Alonso has said that he was ‘immediately happy’ with his Ferrari today in Monaco as he set the fastest time in the Thursday Practice sessions. However, he also cautions that the Red Bull cars are probably hiding some of their pace.
“In Monaco it's mainly a question of having a good feel for the car: the more the driver has, the harder he can push, lap after lap,” explained the Spaniard. “It seems we are a bit more competitive than elsewhere, although one has to adopt the usual caution linked to the unknown factor of how much fuel the others were running. However, the reason is very simple in that here, the aerodynamics count for less and so we are suffering less. On a track with the lowest average speed, some weaknesses are hidden by other factors, such as the mechanical side and the engine.
“I immediately felt comfortable here, right from the morning, so I was able topush harder and harder, because the car was reacting well and I had confidence in it. I am pleased, but we know this is just the first day and that the Red Bulls could be hiding a bit, before coming out for Saturday's qualifying.
“Saturday will be a much more stressful day because here, the slightest error carries a heavy penalty. We must try to take some risks, because we need to close the gap to the best. As for the tyres, I think that their performance is reasonably similar to what we saw in winter testing, even though temperatures are now much higher: compared to the other races, there is not such a big difference between the prime and the options, or at least that's the initial impression.”
Team-mate Felipe Massa was the sixth fastest driver of the day. He sounded reasonably happy with the car, but did have a bit of a complaint about the traffic on the streets of Monte Carlo.
“I am reasonably happy with the car, even if there is still some oversteer, especially with the Supersoft,” commented the Brazilian. “Compared to Barcelona, I reckon we will be better equipped to fight: it's not like on other occasions when it was clear we could not get the tyres to work. There were moments when I was a bit on the limit, so that I even found myself brushing the barriers at least three times.
“I did a long run on the option to try and find its limit in terms of wear. Overtaking will be difficult, as usual at this circuit: but maybe thanks to the KERS it will be possible to overtake a car that is struggling with its tyres, although it will never be easy. Traffic? Here it's impossible to avoid it: today I found myself in a position where I was holding up Fernando, but I had a McLaren ahead of me, which in turn had slowed me down.”