Practice Session 1: Raikkonen flies to fastest time

Ferrari and McLaren once again are the teams to beat, with Kimi Raikkonen finishing practice session 1 just ahead of Lewis Hamilton.

The first practice session in Monaco was marred by a long red flag session. Just before the one hour mark, officials noticed a problem with a drain cover on the hill out of Sainte Devote leading to a red flag which lasted 16 minutes. The drain cover was eventually repaired at the session continued for a further 21 minutes.

Prior to the red flag, Hamilton had the quickest time in his MP4-23. However with nine minutes of the session remaining, Raikkonen put in a blistering lap to beat Hamilton s time by a full two tenths of a second.

Heikki Kovalainen looks to be in good form he initially beat Raikkonen s sector times in the first two parts of the lap, but dropped time in the final sector to finish the day with the third quickest time. Felipe Massa rounded out the top four in the second Ferrari, just ahead of Williams Nico Rosberg and the BMW of Robert Kubica.

Jarno Trulli, David Coulthard and Nick Heidfeld didn t have the most auspicious of days Coulthard failed to put in a time as his RB4 lost drive exiting the tunnel on his first timed lap of the session; Trulli brushed the wall on the approach to the tunnel and broke his Toyota s suspension. His car was so badly damaged that he had to park in on the exit of the chicane; Heidfeld stopped at Casino Square after his BMW looked to have sustained some damage to the rear.

Unofficial Times for Monaco, Practice Session 1

Pos  Driver        Team                     Time              Laps
 1.  Raikkonen     Ferrari               1:15.948            26
 2.  Hamilton      McLaren-Mercedes      1:16.216  + 0.268   27
 3.  Kovalainen    McLaren-Mercedes      1:16.248  + 0.300   28
 4.  Massa         Ferrari               1:16.292  + 0.344   26
 5.  Rosberg       Williams-Toyota       1:16.653  + 0.705   27
 6.  Kubica        BMW Sauber            1:16.834  + 0.886   23
 7.  Alonso        Renault               1:17.498  + 1.550   25
 8.  Barrichello   Honda                 1:17.511  + 1.563   26
 9.  Webber        Red Bull-Renault      1:17.798  + 1.850   23
10.  Fisichella    Force India-Ferrari   1:17.835  + 1.887   26
11.  Glock         Toyota                1:17.942  + 1.994   26
12.  Button        Honda                 1:18.153  + 2.205   26
13.  Bourdais      Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1:18.245  + 2.297   30
14.  Heidfeld      BMW Sauber            1:18.263  + 2.315   13
15.  Nakajima      Williams-Toyota       1:18.274  + 2.326   28
16.  Trulli        Toyota                1:18.360  + 2.412   16
17.  Sutil         Force India-Ferrari   1:18.360  + 2.412   25
18.  Piquet        Renault               1:18.955  + 3.007   32
19.  Vettel        Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1:19.176  + 3.228   35
20.  Coulthard     Red Bull-Renault      No time              3