Sam Bird sets the pace in Monte Carlo

Sam Bird

Sam Bird set the tone in this morning’s free practice in the streets of Monaco: the Brit’ from RUSSIAN TIME clocked a lap time of 1:21.512 in a trouble free session, five hundredths quicker than teammate Tom Dillmann. Rookie Mitch Evans finished third.

Under clear blue skies, the pitlane opened and the twenty-six cars fed onto the track on Soft Pirelli tires. Evans set the early pace, but it was Bird who was on a mission and topped the timing sheets in the first ten minutes of the session with a lap time of 1:23.402. Marcus Ericsson improved the Brit’s time by four tenths, but Dillmann put his head down and found the extra pace to break under the 1m23s barrier and bettered the DAMS’ man’s time by six tenths. Evans and Felipe Nasr also went under 1m23s, with Fabio Leimer moving up to second, one tenth slower than Dillmann.

Halfway through the session, Bird edged his teammate out of the top spot by four hundredths. Dillmann was then on a flyer and looked set to improve again, but Stephane Richelmi spun and stopped at Rascasse ruining the Frenchman’s efforts, Dillmann having to settle for P2 ahead of Leimer.

With today’s qualifying session being divided into two groups of fifteen minutes each, most of the teams chose to switch to Super Soft tires for the second part of the free practice in order to evaluate the level of grip with the option tires. The lap times improved again and Bird, Dillmann and Evans dipped under 1m22s. At the checkered flag, Bird remained top ahead of his teammate and the Arden driver. Last year’s sprint race winner Jolyon Palmer finished fourth ahead of Ericsson, Johnny Cecotto, Leimer, Nasr, Rio Haryanto and James Calado, the latter who in an effort to find his car’s limits concluded his session going off track at Ste Devote in the dying minutes.

The Qualifying session will start at 16:15 local time with Group A gathering all odd numbered cars (including Bird, Ericsson, Nasr, Haryanto and Calado). After a ten minute break, Group B with all even numbered cars will start their session at 16:40 local time.

Monte Carlo – Free Practice

Pos Driver Team Time Laps
1. Sam Bird RUSSIAN TIME 1:21.512 15
2. Tom Dillmann RUSSIAN TIME 1:21.569 18
3. Mitch Evans Arden International 1:21.754 17
4. Jolyon Palmer Carlin 1:22.059 19
5. Marcus Ericsson DAMS 1:22.290 18
6. Johnny Cecotto Arden International 1:22.391 15
7. Fabio Leimer Racing Engineering 1:22.499 13
8. Felipe Nasr Carlin 1:22.516 17
9. Rio Haryanto Barwa Addax Team 1:22.578 16
10. James Calado ART Grand Prix 1:22.647 18
11. Julian Leal Racing Engineering 1:22.795 18
12. Kevin Ceccon Trident Racing 1:22.872 18
13. Alexander Rossi EQ8 Caterham Racing 1:22.979 18
14. Jake Rosenzweig Barwa Addax Team 1:23.251 16
15. Nathanael Berthon Trident Racing 1:23.365 19
16. Sergio Canamasas EQ8 Caterham Racing 1:23.369 18
17. Stefano Coletti Rapax 1:23.527 17
18. Simon Trummer Rapax 1:23.633 17
19 Stéphane Richelmi DAMS 1:23.648 10
20. Robin Frijns Hilmer Motorsport 1:23.702 19
21. Daniel Abt ART Grand Prix 1:23.854 19
22. Rene Binder Venezuela GP Lazarus 1:23.905 19
23. Daniel De Jong MP Motorsport 1:24.223 19
24. Jon Lancaster Hilmer Motorsport 1:24.600 11
25. Kevin Giovesi Venezuela GP Lazarus 1:24.755 19
26. Adrian Quaife-Hobbs MP Motorsport 1:24.916 19

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