Updated: Friday, 23 May 2014 01:32 | By Agence France-Presse

Hamilton oversleeps, but clocks day's fastest time

World championship leader Lewis Hamilton overslept his alarm and had to be roused by two team members banging on his door on Thursday morning.


Hamilton oversleeps, but clocks day's fastest time

Mercedes' British driver Lewis Hamilton drives at the Monaco street circuit during the first practice session of the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix in Monte Carlo on May 22, 2014 - by Jean Christophe Magnenet

But this delayed start to his working day did nothing to slow him down as he went on to clock the fastest lap overall in Thursday’s rain-hit practice for this weekend's Monaco Grand Prix.

Hamilton was quickest in the morning with a best lap of one minute and 18.271 seconds ahead of his Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg.

In a flurry of 10 minutes 'dry weather' at the end of the afternoon, he was second fastest behind a resurgent Fernando Alonso, the Ferrari driver clocking 1:18.482 to top the second session times.

Rosberg was 20th, not risking anything in the treacherous conditions.

While Hamilton's day began with him jogging to the paddock from his yacht nearby, Alonso's started with him being showered in praise by Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo, keen to assure his top driver that he is prized and valued.

Hamilton, at least, did not need that – having won four successive races to lead the title contest, he was soon seen joking and laughing with Mercedes boss Niki Lauda before setting the pace.

"I overslept," admitted Hamilton, with a smile.

"I got in the car and was looking to just take it one step at a time, but the track was amazing to drive and the car's really behaving a lot better than it was last year -- for me."

He conceded he was lucky to make good progress with his set-up work during the first dry session before a heavy downpour drenched the circuit for the afternoon.

"Yeah, if we'd missed out both sessions...but, the fact we got that one session at the beginning is a huge plus because I got a long run in as well. So, I feel pretty set for Saturday."

He added that he feels he has a great chance to repeat his win of 2008.

"Monaco is one of the greatest races of all time, it's such a classic," he said. "I've been trying to win here for a long time and never had the car to do so, apart from last year, but I wasn't able to really capitalise on it.

"So I'm hoping this year, with the great car that we have, I'm hoping that I can do what I should do."

- Little afternoon action -

The afternoon produced little action. With 10 minutes remaining, only nine of the 22 drivers had set a time, but in a final flurry -– as the track dried in warm sunshine -– all of the remaining drivers went out on 'supersoft' tyres to gain experience and data.

The positions meant little, but Australian Daniel Ricciardo said he felt that he and Red Bull team-mate, defending four-time champion Sebastian Vettel, had a chance to challenge for victory in Sunday's classic 78-lap race.

"The morning went well," he said. "It is still early, but we are there or thereabouts with them – and with a few little tweaks, if we get it the way we want, we will give them a run.

"I think if it (winning) is going to happen anywhere, this is the place for it."

Vettel was more cautious.

"They were very quick this morning and we see that, come Saturday, they are usually able to pick up their pace, so we will try to do the same.

"Potentially, we are a little bit closer here, but at the moment it is all guessing."

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