Alonso fastest in second Monaco practice after final flurry

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Fernando Alonso has finished fastest in the second practice session for the Monaco Grand Prix, posting the fastest time of the session in the final few minutes when the track had dried out following a rain shower.

His lap of 1:18.482 was good enough to see him finish four-tenths of a second ahead of Lewis Hamilton, who had topped the first session in Monaco earlier today.

Heavy rainfall between the end of FP1 and the start of the second session meant that the track was wet when FP2 began. Valtteri Bottas was the only driver to head out early on, but even on the intermediate tire, it was too wet to gain any meaningful data.

It was not until the halfway point in the session that the first times were set, with Jenson Button going fastest of all ahead of Sebastian Vettel and teammate Kevin Magnussen. Only another six drivers opted to set a time whilst the track was still dry, with others chosing to bide their time.

Kimi Raikkonen was not able to head out again after encountering a gearbox problem on the main straight. He did manage to get his Ferrari back to the pits, but the team will now be left with a repair job overnight and on Friday to get him ready for qualifying.

With just five minutes remaining, a number of drivers ventured out on the soft and super-soft tire as the track had dried out enough. This resulted in a number of rapid improvements, with P1 changing hands every few seconds. Jean-Eric Vergne, Daniil Kvyat, Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg all topped the timesheets momentarily, but it was Fernando Alonso who ultimately finished fastest ahead of Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel.

The advantage certainly appears to lie with Mercedes in Monaco, but should rain strike during qualifying or the race this weekend, Ferrari and Red Bull may well be able to put up more of a fight to the Silver Arrows.

Al Unser Jr. to race Pikes Peak Hill Climb for first time in 29 years

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Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Al Unser Jr. is coming out of retirement to race again.

Unser Jr., who turns 56 on April 19, will compete in the 96th Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Hill Climb on June 24. It will be the first time Unser has raced at Pikes Peak in 29 years, since the 1989 event.

Unser won the Hill Climb and was named “King of the Mountain” in the 1983 event.

Unser said in 2007 that he was retiring from racing and had no plans to race in the future. However, he has taken part since then in some selected vintage racing events.

Speaking of vintage cars, Unser is slated to drive a 1936 Chevrolet Sedan in this year’s Hill Climb, according to race organizers.

He’ll compete with a number of luminaries including eight-time Hill Climb winner Paul Dallenbach; Layne Schranz, who will be competing in his 25th “Race to the Clouds”; 23-time champion Clint Vahsholtz; 25-time Hill Climb competitor David Schmidt II and three-time Climb winner Spencer Steele.

Unser recently returned to IndyCar racing as a consultant with Harding Racing, which is beginning its first full season in the series with Gabby Chaves behind the wheel.