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.
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.
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:
[Original image via GP Update]