Nico Rosberg proved he is in a class of one this weekend with another stunning time to seal the top spot in the final practice session ahead of Sunday’s Monaco Grand Prix.
The German was 0.7 clear of the rest of the field, and an astonishing 0.9 faster than team-mate Lewis Hamilton; however, the Briton was stymied in his efforts when his last minute run on the softer Pirelli tyre was ended by a red flag.
There were incidents for Felipe Massa, Romain Grosjean and Adrian Sutil in the last 30 minutes of the session, the Brazilian crashing heavily at St Devote after locking up and bouncing from right to left across the circuit when a suspected suspension problem left him on a collision course with the barriers. Sutil lost it at the top of the hill at Massenet on a fresh set of soft tyres and buried his Force India in the wall that claimed Fernando Alonso in the same session in 2010. Grosjean ended his morning with just over a minute left on the clock when he was involved in a curious incident at St Devote; the Frenchman appeared to swerve particularly close to Hamilton who was exiting the pits before spinning his car into the barriers; the Frenchman angrily exclaimed that ‘something broke on the car…it’s not possible!’ before vacating his wrecked Lotus cockpit.
Nico Rosberg survived a heavy brush with the infamous barriers to finish the session in one piece, although Mercedes will surely be concerned over any microscopic damage to the suspension of his car.
Pastor Maldonado avoided any of his 2012 Monaco antics to finish the session very strongly, a return to form after the Venezuelan had ended FP1 inside the top 10.
Largely forgotten in the carnage of the morning were the Red Bull duo of Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel who appeared to have made some progress overnight, with the reigning World Champion fastest for much of the session. He was eventually classified 3rd, with Webber a little further back in 7th behind an impressive Paul Di Resta.
Nico Hulkenberg got his Sauber ahead of the McLarens of Perez and Button, although the 2009 Monaco winner was similarly hindered like Hamilton on his final run; nevertheless, the Woking-based team have looked stronger here than they did two weeks ago in Barcelona.
PRACTICE THREE – MONACO GP – CLASSIFICATION
|8||Di Resta||Force India||1:15:594|
|20||Van Der Garde||Caterham||1:18:102|