Robert Kubica has emerged as the dark horse of the Monaco Grand Prix, with a storming drive in the final session to top the Saturday practice timesheets, finishing just quicker than Felipe Massa and Mark Webber in the 60-minute session.

However, the shock news from the session is that Fernando Robert KubicaAlonso crashed heavily at Massenet, badly damaging his Ferrari chassis, and will not participate in qualifying proper this afternoon.

The 2005 and 2006 World Champion was atop the timesheets at the 20-minute mark when he lost control at the Massenet left-hander, plucking both right-side wheels from his F10 as he slammed into the Armco, and giving his mechanics plenty of work to repair his car overnight.

This incident puts a serious dent in his hopes for the weekend, after posting the quickest session times in the opening practice sessions on Thursday. The Spaniard’s Ferrari had looked a much better prospect on this slower circuit that masks the F10’s relative deficiencies to its rivals, and he will do well to salvage a point after tomorrow’s 78-lap race.

It was an incident-filled final practice session as the drivers hurtled around the narrow track trying to fine-tune their cars for this afternoon’s all-important qualifying session.

Fernando Alonso's damaged Ferrari Timo Glock pulled off the circuit with a mechanical failure early in the session. Both Vitaly Petrov and Michael Schumacher out-braked themselves into the Mirabeau corner and slid up the escape road, and Petrov also came close to collecting Lucas di Grassi at the Nouvelle Chicane.

Adrian Sutil spun his Force India at Casino Square, plucking the rear win from the VJM03 against the barriers. Massa also came close to replicating Alonso’s efforts by dint of some barrier-shaving moments at Loews and the Swimming Pool.

At the pointy end of the field, the top of the timesheets was occupied by a series of different drivers in the third and final free practice session. Jaime Alguersuari and Michael Schumacher led the opening exchange of quickest times in the early stages, before Sebastian Vettel, Alonso, Massa, Kubica and then Lewis Hamilton all bettered the previous driver’s respective times.

Mark Webber then headed the running with 15 minutes to go, but was held up on a fast lap by Schumacher, who was in turn trying to navigate his way around Petrov.

Kubica dethroned Webber in the closing minutes with a great lap in his Renault, and then Massa split the duo with a lap just 0.04s slower than the Pole’s.

Hamilton, Vettel and Schumacher rounded out the top-six, followed by Nico Rosberg and Sébastien Buemi, who had a promising session. Adrian Sutil and Jenson Button completed the top-ten, with the defending World Champion complaining about a lack of grip in his McLaren MP4-25.

2010 Monaco Grand Prix Practice 3 Session Times:

  Driver   Team Time Laps
1. Robert Kubica POL Renault 1:14.806 25
2. Felipe Massa BRA Ferrari + 0.046 22
3. Mark Webber AU Red Bull Renault + 0.139 24
4. Lewis Hamilton GBR McLaren Mercedes + 0.232 24
5. Sebastian Vettel DEU Red Bull Renault + 0.240 25
6. Michael Schumacher DEU Mercedes GP + 0.430 21
7. Nico Rosberg DEU Mercedes GP + 0.446 20
8. Sébastien Buemi SUI Toro Rosso Ferrari + 0.731 21
9. Adrian Sutil DEU Force India Mercedes + 0.853 13
10. Jenson Button GBR McLaren Mercedes + 0.876 22
11. Vitantonio Liuzzi ITA Force India Mercedes + 0.885 19
12. Jaime Alguersuari ESP Toro Rosso Ferrari + 0.963 26
13. Nico Hülkenberg DEU Williams Cosworth + 1.358 24
14. Rubens Barrichello BRA Williams Cosworth + 1.426 21
15. Vitaly Petrov RUS Renault + 1.434 26
16. Fernando Alonso ESP Ferrari + 1.460 6
17. Kamui Kobayashi JPN Sauber Ferrari + 1.838 25
18. Pedro de la Rosa ESP Sauber Ferrari + 1.890 22
19. Heikki Kovalainen Lotus Cosworth + 2.976 18
20. Jarno Trulli ITA Lotus Cosworth + 3.059 26
21. Lucas di Grassi BRA Virgin Racing Cosworth + 3.257 24
22. Bruno Senna BRA HRT Cosworth + 4.914 25
23. Karun Chandhok IND HRT Cosworth + 4.975 21
24. Timo Glock DEU Virgin Racing Cosworth no time 3

[Original image via GP Update]

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.