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Monaco GP: Nico Rosberg tops first practice session

Rosberg tops first Monaco GP practiceNico Rosberg narrowly led a close first free practice session for the Monaco Grand Prix on Thursday morning.

The Mercedes driver, who is hunting for a third straight pole position after topping qualifying in Bahrain and Spain, set a 1m16.195s.

That was enough to edge out Fernando Alonso's Ferrari by just 0.087 seconds.

The majority of the quick times came during a busy spell in the middle of the session. There was scant track action in the opening half-hour, but once the frontrunners came out, leading positions shuffled frequently for a brief period before the field settled into longer runs.

Felipe Massa had swapped the top spot with Rosberg a few times before the Mercedes and Alonso's sister Ferrari pushed the Brazilian down to third.

He then dropped another spot to fourth when Romain Grosjean put his Lotus ahead with one of the few late improvements.

Grosjean had earlier lost a little track time after a minor brush with the barrier meant his car needed attention in the pits.

Lewis Hamilton completed the top five in the second Mercedes.

Monaco specialist Pastor Maldonado is banking on this weekend giving Williams some much needed encouragement. Sixth in practice one was a good start.

The Red Bulls of Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel were back in seventh and 10th, split by McLaren duo Jenson Button and Sergio Perez.

The only significant incident of the session came when Adrian Sutil spun and gave his Force India a knock at Sainte Devote in the closing minutes.

Hamilton had earlier skated down the escape road at the same point.

Pos Driver                Team                   Time      Gap      Laps
 1. Nico Rosberg          Mercedes               1m16.195s           30
 2. Fernando Alonso       Ferrari                1m16.282s + 0.087s  26
 3. Romain Grosjean       Lotus-Renault          1m16.380s + 0.185s  20
 4. Felipe Massa          Ferrari                1m16.394s + 0.199s  22
 5. Lewis Hamilton        Mercedes               1m16.469s + 0.274s  27
 6. Pastor Maldonado      Williams-Renault       1m16.993s + 0.798s  26
 7. Mark Webber           Red Bull-Renault       1m17.020s + 0.825s  26
 8. Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes       1m17.129s + 0.934s  28
 9. Sergio Perez          McLaren-Mercedes       1m17.378s + 1.183s  24
10. Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault       1m17.380s + 1.185s  22
11. Kimi Raikkonen        Lotus-Renault          1m17.509s + 1.314s  25
12. Paul di Resta         Force India-Mercedes   1m17.548s + 1.353s  26
13. Adrian Sutil          Force India-Mercedes   1m17.625s + 1.430s  20
14. Nico Hulkenberg       Sauber-Ferrari         1m18.193s + 1.998s  25
15. Jean-Eric Vergne      Toro Rosso-Ferrari     1m18.454s + 2.259s  24
16. Esteban Gutierrez     Sauber-Ferrari         1m18.754s + 2.559s  27
17. Valtteri Bottas       Williams-Renault       1m18.830s + 2.635s  27
18. Daniel Ricciardo      Toro Rosso-Ferrari     1m19.067s + 2.872s  24
19. Giedo van der Garde   Caterham-Renault       1m19.203s + 3.008s  20
20. Charles Pic           Caterham-Renault       1m19.438s + 3.243s  27
21. Jules Bianchi         Marussia-Cosworth      1m19.773s + 3.578s  19
22. Max Chilton           Marussia-Cosworth      1m20.225s + 4.030s  20

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