Montoya Quickest in Practice 1 - Monaco

Juan Pablo Montoya proved McLaren will be on the pace in here this weekend when he outpaced championship leader Fernando Alonso to finish fastest in Thursday's opening practice session for the Monaco Grand Prix

Montoya Quickest in Practice 1 - Monaco

Spaniard Alonso led the session on a time of 1:17.301 for championship leaders Renault with seconds to go as the drivers took to the narrow harbourside track in bright sunshine and temperatures of 24 degrees Celsius.

But Colombian Montoya, whose teammate Kimi Raikkonen won the last race in Spain, outpaced him by 0.149 seconds to go top with a time of 1:17.152 in the closing seconds of the session.

Alonso finished 0.210 seconds clear of third-placed driver Christian Klien, in a Red Bull Racing car running a gaudy colour scheme to promote the new Star Wars film.

World Champion Michael Schumacher, who has struggled so far this season, finished fourth fastest for Ferrari with Giancarlo Fisichella fifth in the second Renault and McLaren test driver Alex Wurz sixth.

Australian Mark Webber finished seventh in the lead Williams with Ralf Schumacher the lead Toyota in eighth, David Coulthard ninth for Red Bull and Rubens Barrichello completing the top ten for Ferrari.

Wurz was the first of many to make a mistake at the chicane when he went straight on and with 20 minutes gone it was the Star Wars liveried Red Bull Racing machine of Christian Klien leading the times with a lap of 1:20.562.

With half an hour gone Wurz had moved to the top of the times with a lap 0.318 seconds faster than Klien and a total of 11 cars had ventured out to complete a full timed lap.

The top drivers then started to hit the top of the timesheets with Raikkonen, who won the last race in Spain, taking the top ahead of Webber and Michael Schumacher but Klien then stepped up to take top spot again.

Patrick Friesacher stopped at the end of the pitlane and had to be pushed back and Schumacher moved ahead on a time of 1:18.284 before Alonso came out for his first flying lap of the weekend.

Alonso immediately set a time of 1:18.493 to go third fastest then, after Klien had taken back the top spot, the Spaniard stepped up the pace to go two tenths faster on a time of 1:17.301.

The chicane continued to cause problems during the session with Klien, Trulli, Ricardo Zonta, Patrick Friesacher, Jordan duo Narain Karthikeyan and Tiago Monteiro, David Coulthard and Nick Heidfeld all making mistakes.

Klien had an escape when he went straight on at Sainte Devote but, with BAR still absent after being banned for this race, all 22 drivers who ran in the session managed to avoid the barriers.

Pos  Driver        Team                  Time                  Laps
 1.  Montoya       McLaren-Mercedes  (M)  1:17.152               14
 2.  Alonso        Renault           (M)  1:17.301  +    0.149   14
 3.  Klien         Red Bull-Cosworth (M)  1:17.511  +    0.359   21
 4.  M.Schumacher  Ferrari           (B)  1:17.640  +    0.488   16
 5.  Fisichella    Renault           (M)  1:17.869  +    0.717   19
 6.  Wurz          McLaren-Mercedes  (M)  1:18.059  +    0.907   26
 7.  Webber        Williams-BMW      (M)  1:18.244  +    1.092   18
 8.  R.Schumacher  Toyota            (M)  1:18.482  +    1.330   14
 9.  Coulthard     Red Bull-Cosworth (M)  1:18.669  +    1.517   15
10.  Barrichello   Ferrari           (B)  1:18.838  +    1.686   16
11.  Heidfeld      Williams-BMW      (M)  1:18.859  +    1.707   17
12.  Raikkonen     McLaren-Mercedes  (M)  1:19.055  +    1.903   16
13.  Trulli        Toyota            (M)  1:19.255  +    2.103   13
14.  Villeneuve    Sauber-Petronas   (M)  1:19.755  +    2.603   20
15.  Liuzzi        Red Bull-Cosworth (M)  1:19.844  +    2.692   21
16.  Massa         Sauber-Petronas   (M)  1:20.180  +    3.028   15
17.  Zonta         Toyota            (M)  1:20.979  +    3.827   21
18.  Doornbos      Jordan-Toyota     (B)  1:21.511  +    4.359   28
19.  Friesacher    Minardi-Cosworth  (B)  1:21.968  +    4.816   17
20.  Monteiro      Jordan-Toyota     (B)  1:22.388  +    5.236   25
21.  Karthikeyan   Jordan-Toyota     (B)  1:23.521  +    6.369   20
22.  Albers        Minardi-Cosworth  (B)  1:25.664  +    8.512   17

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