Button sets the practice pace in a wet Principality

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Updated: May 24, 2012

McLaren’s Jenson Button set the pace in a rain-hit practice for the Monaco Grand Prix on Thursday.

Button, a winner around the metal-ringed street circuit in his 2009 title season with Brawn GP, skimmed the barriers with a fastest time of one minute 15.746 seconds on super-soft tyres.

Frenchman Romain Grosjean burnished his hopes of becoming his country’s first Formula One winner in Monaco since Olivier Panis in a wet 1996 with the second-fastest time for Lotus in both sessions.

A win by Grosjean or teammate Kimi Raikkonen would give Formula One a first of having six different winners from six different teams in the first six races.

Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso had showed his Monaco mastery in the morning with a pace-setting 1:16.265 in a sunny session cut short in a cloud of smoke when Heikki Kovalainen’s Caterham blew its engine in the tunnel.

The Spaniard, twice a winner in Monaco with Renault and McLaren, was fourth in the afternoon without fitting the super-soft tyres.

Ferrari’s Brazilian Felipe Massa, under intense pressure to deliver after scoring just two points in five races, was an encouraging third in the second session.

Mexican Sergio Perez, returning to the scene of his big accident in qualifying last year, had been third in the morning for Sauber with race favourite Lewis Hamilton fourth for McLaren.

1. Jenson Button (Britain) McLaren 1:15.746
2. Romain Grosjean (France) Lotus – Renault 1:16.138
3. Felipe Massa (Brazil) Ferrari 1:16.602
4. Fernando Alonso (Spain) Ferrari 1:16.661
5. Pastor Maldonado (Venezuela) Williams – Renault 1:16.820
6. Nico Rosberg (Germany) Mercedes 1:17.021
7. Mark Webber (Australia) RedBull – Renault 1:17.148
8. Kamui Kobayashi (Japan) Sauber – Ferrari 1:17.153
9. Michael Schumacher (Germany) Mercedes 1:17.293
10. Sebastian Vettel (Germany) RedBull – Renault 1:17.303
11. Lewis Hamilton (Britain) McLaren 1:17.375
12. Paul Di Resta (Britain) Force India – Mercedes 1:17.395
13. Bruno Senna (Brazil) Williams – Renault 1:17.655
14. Nico Huelkenberg (Germany) Force India – Mercedes 1:17.800
15. Sergio Perez (Mexico) Sauber – Ferrari 1:18.251
16. Vitaly Petrov (Russia) Caterham – Renault 1:18.440
17. Jean-Eric Vergne (France) Toro Rosso – Ferrari 1:18.522
18. Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) Toro Rosso – Ferrari 1:18.808
19. Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) Lotus – Renault 1:19.267
20. Timo Glock (Germany) Marussia – Cosworth 1:19.309
21. Heikki Kovalainen (Finland) Caterham – Renault 1:20.029
22. Charles Pic (France) Marussia – Cosworth 1:20.240
23. Pedro de la Rosa (Spain) HRT – Cosworth 1:20.631
24. Narain Karthikeyan (India) HRT – Cosworth 1:20.886