Alonso dominates first Monaco practice race

Fernando Alonso started his bid to win the Monaco Grand Prix with three different teams today by dominating the first practice session in a Ferrari.

Alonso posted 1 minute 16.265 seconds on the 3.340km street course in the principality to finish ahead of Lotus driver Romain Grosjean and Sergio Perez of Sauber, who returned to Monaco from a major crash there last year.

Alonso has won the Formula One season’s most glamorous race in the past for Renault and McLaren. The last Ferrari win in Monaco dates back to Michael Schumacher’s success in 2001.

The 90-minute session was not completed as stewards decided for safety reasons to stop seven minutes before the end after Heikki Kovalainen’s Caterham experienced an engine problem shortly after the tunnel exit in a fast section.

World champion Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull, who came ninth, leads the championship with 61 points together with Alonso into the sixth season race. The races so far have seen a different winner on each occasion, and another first-time 2012 winner on Sunday would mark an F1 record.

A second practice session was set for later Thursday and qualifying is on Saturday.