Alonso sets early Monaco pace

Fernando Alonso (9/2 – Monaco GP Winner) was quickest in Thursday’s first practice for Sunday’s Monaco Grand Prix, which was brought to an early end by Heikki Kovalainen’s engine problems around the famed street circuit.

Finn Kovalainen came to a halt coming out of the tunnel down to the Port Chicane and the mass of smoke forced an immediate red flag with nine minutes of the practice left.

It was a better day for Spaniard Alonso, however, as the Championship’s joint leader finished with a lap of one minute 16.263 seconds to emerge quickest in the principality.

Lotus’ Romain Grosjean (10/1), who led the way for much of Thursday’s first practice session, was second best, finishing 0.365s adrift of the Ferrari.

Sauber’s Sergio Perez (33/1) was third overall, just ahead of Briton Lewis Hamilton (3/1), who was fourth in his McLaren Mercedes, while Pastor Maldonado, who won his first-ever race last time out in Spain, was fifth quickest.

Jenson Button (8/1) had a disappointing day finishing eighth down the list, one place above Red Bull ace Sebastian Vettel (5/1), while Kimi Raikkonen failed to record a time after he was forced into the garage for the majority of the session due to a steering issue.

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