Monte Carlo, Monaco. Thursday 22 May 2014. Nico Rosberg, Mercedes F1 W05 Hybrid. World Copyright: Alastair Staley/LAT Photographic. ref: Digital Image _R6T8962

during Thursday practice in his Mercedes F1 W05 Hybrid in Monte Carlo, Monaco on Thursday, May 22 2014. (Photo: Alastair Staley/LAT Photographic)

It was no surprise when Mercedes set the pace in Monaco today, but all the signs are that Red Bull and Ferrari are a lot closer at a track where the power unit is less critical.

In FP1 and Nico Rosberg were just 0.032s apart, although a disjointed FP2 meant that the times were not representative, with Hamilton half a second off Fernando Alonso, and Rosberg was only 20th.

“The car is still a work in progress but it felt really good out there today,” said Hamilton. “I had a good first session and was then really pleased to get those last few laps in the dry this afternoon, which was a big plus. I’m feeling pretty set for Saturday. There is still some work to do but we have tomorrow to look into that and finish all our preparations for the weekend.”

“That was a very good day,” said Rosberg. “It seems that we are looking very quick here again, although our main competitors seems to be a little closer to us than in Barcelona. I still need to find my perfect setup so there is still some work for us to do tomorrow to get ready for the weekend. The conditions weren’t great this afternoon so I didn’t take any risks as there was nothing to learn on the wet parts of the track.”

Mercedes Executive Technical Director Paddy Lowe confirmed that there is still some work to be done.

“We had a straightforward first practice session when we chose to run an offset schedule to take ourselves out of the dominant traffic. That worked well as we got good clear runs on both sets of tires, working on the setup and dialing the car into the track. P2 was obviously wet and only dried up enough to do some useful running in the final half hour.

“This meant we weren’t able to do all our homework on tire wear and long-run performance, but we were at least able to do a run on the option tire, to give the drivers a feel for the car in what will be the tire of choice in qualifying. Overall, the car was working well today and the drivers’ feedback was positive, but there is still more work needed to best prepare for qualifying on Saturday.”

Click HERE for full practice results.

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