A weekend of mega-yachts, celebs and fast cars is lined up as Monaco gears up to host the most glamorous leg of the Formula One season.
Defending World Champion Sebastian Vettel set the fastest time during Thursday’s opening free practice, ahead of the big race on Sunday.
The 23-year-old Red Bull driver, pipping Spaniard Fernando Alonso of Ferrari by one tenth of a second around the famous Monte Carlo street circuit.
Alonso, who was fastest in opening practice at Monaco last year, looked to have beaten Vettel’s time but was held up by third-fastest German Nico Rosberg of Mercedes who was cruising back to the pits.
Brazilian Felipe Massa was fourth quickest in the second Ferrari ahead of Britons Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button of McLaren, fifth and sixth fastest respectively.
Seven-time champion Michael Schumacher was tenth fastest in the second Mercedes, however the 42-year-old German finished the session on foot after crashing his car into the St devote wall at turn one in the final minutes of the session.
Preparations for this weekend’s race were hampered by a lorry fire on the track very near Saint Devote on Tuesday night. Organisers worked frantically to repair the surface in time for first practice.
Meanwhile McLaren’s Jenson Button was almost hit by a fork-lift truck. “I was walking along talking to the guys. I was looking but he wasn’t as he was reversing,” Button told the Guardian.
“I was never going to be injured seriously. He wasn’t going to kill me. He would have bumped into me. They are doing all they can but when it is back to back it is very difficult. The guys are working non-stop to get it built. It makes it a bit difficult and dangerous - maybe we should be wearing hard hats in the paddock.”
The Monaco Grand Prix, first run in 1929, is considered the jewel in Formula One’s crown and has been won by some of the sport’s greatest drivers including champions Juan Manuel Fangio and Ayrton Senna.
The Grand Prix is 77 laps, or 263-kilometers, twist through the lanes of Monte Carlo. The main attraction of the Monaco Grand Prix is the proximity of the speeding Formula One cars to the race spectators.
Monaco residents often rent out their terraces for the event with prices ranging from €8000 to €140,000 for the four days.
Also in Monte Carlo, City.Mobi is celebrating the success of its new guide to the glamorous principality.
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City.Mobi offers the most comprehensive mobile travel guides available, with over 800 cities in 200 countries listed. Each is developed by the City.Mobi team to combine into a single global travel directory.
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