|Lewis Hamilton stormed the Monaco course in the afternoon session|
Lewis Hamilton lagged Kimi Raikkonen's morning pace, but his afternoon showing - when the Briton described his car as "great" - made him easily Thursday's fastest. Heikki Kovalainen started the day well but ended up over seven tenths shy of his teammate.
Rookie teammate Kazuki Nakajima is not on his teammate's pace, but Nico Rosberg was fifth in the morning and a surprise second fastest in the afternoon session. "It looks like we have a good car here," he enthused.
Raikkonen's quickest morning time had become a nearly half-second deficit to Hamilton by the end of the day, and team boss Stefano Domenicali admitted that the F2008 is struggling to match McLaren's qualifying pace, particularly with the softest tire. Felipe Massa, who openly dislikes Monaco, was consistently three tenths off his Finnish teammate's pace.
Nick Heidfeld, whose car at Monaco features aerodynamic wheel covers for the first time, had to stop his car in the morning and have an engine change in the break, but he was only a tenth or so off on-form teammate Robert Kubica's pace in the afternoon. "We now have to see how we can improve the car for Saturday," the Pole said.
2007 winner for McLaren, Fernando Alonso, was seventh in both Thursday practice sessions, even though in the afternoon he mirrored his struggling teammate Nelson Piquet's almost identical whack against the Sainte Devote barriers, which brought out the red flags.
The RA108 is very much a car with which to aspire only for the lower points, and so it seemed to prove on Thursday, with Rubens Barrichello eighth quickest in the morning and Jenson Button in the same position in the afternoon.
An awful day for 2004 winner Jarno Trulli, who glanced the barriers in both the morning and afternoon sessions, and his team revealed that he also encountered a problem with his car's floor. The highlight of Toyota's day was just twelfth place in the afternoon for Monaco newcomer Timo Glock, who ended both sessions in front of Trulli.
David Coulthard didn't set a time in the morning due to a throttle problem, and in the afternoon he and Mark Webber were two seconds off the ultimate pace. "At the moment the car is not suiting the track that well," Webber admitted.
Giancarlo Fisichella made his now customary high-profile - and presumably low-fuel - practice run to tenth best in the morning, settling to 16th in the afternoon. Adrian Sutil was half a second off his teammate's pace in the morning, and nearly a full second behind in the final outing, when he clipped the barrier in the Rascasse and lost his front wing.
Despite debuting the new STR3 at Monaco, Sebastian Vettel was Thursday's slowest runner in both sessions, but Sebastien Bourdais - albeit notably faster - is also unhappy. "I was fighting with the car on a circuit that I have always liked in the past," the F1 rookie, who raced at Monte Carlo in F3000, rued.