Nico Rosberg gas continued his dominance of the Monaco Grand Prix by sweeping the fastest times in every practice session. The Mercedes driver comfortably outpaced Romain Grosjean for top spot, who brought proceedings to a premature end with his second crash of the weekend at the Sainte Devote corner.
The Frenchman wasn’t the only driver to come to grief during the one-hour session, with Felipe Massa binning his Ferrari at Sainte Devote as well. The Brazilian had completed a mere eight laps in his F138 before locking up on the approach to the first corner and sliding helplessly into the Armco.
The red flags were unfurled while the mess was cleared up, and when proceedings got going again, it was Adrian Sutil to earn the honour of the weekend’s first multiple crasher. Mirroring the heavy accident that Fernando Alonso suffered in 2010, the German lost control of his Force India on the approach to Massenet and hit the wall.
Not wanting to be outdone, Grosjean clocked up his second crash of the weekend with another effort at Sainte Devote in the closing minutes to bring the session to an end.
In between all of the smoke, wrecked cars and shards of carbon fibre came Rosberg, who emerged atop the timesheets with a sensational lap time of 1:14.378, again clocking purple sector times all around the circuit to outpace the red-faced Grosjean by a mammoth six-tenths of a second.
Sebastian Vettel, Fernando Alonso, Lewis Hamilton and Kimi Räikkönen had a close scrap for third-placed honours, finishing in that order to round out the top six places on the timesheets.
Mark Webber and Paul di Resta finished up seventh and eighth-fastest, respectively, while Monaco specialist Pastor Maldonado was ninth in his little-fancied Williams ahead of Nico Hülkenberg.
The McLarens were again outside the top ten, with Sergio Pérez shading teammate Jenson Button this time around as they rounded out the top-dozen spots, although both were over 1.5 seconds off Rosberg’s best time.
With qualifying set to begin less than two hours after the end of final practice, Ferrari Lotus and Force India face huge amounts of work to repair their battered cars in the hope of making an impact on qualifying.
Eyes will also be on the horizon, with dark rain clouds looming over the Mediterranean and threatening to have an impact on this afternoon’s all-important qualifying session. If the weather remains dry, then it’s impossible to see how anyone other than Mercedes (and Rosberg, in particular) will claim pole position, but any involvement of rain will certainly throw up some surprise results.
2013 Monaco Formula 1 Grand Prix – Free Practice 3 Session Times:
|1.||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W04||1:14.378||22|
|2.||Romain Grosjean||Lotus F1 Renault E21||1:15.039||+ 0.661||13|
|3.||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing Renault RB9||1:15.261||+ 0.883||17|
|4.||Fernando Alonso||Scuderia Ferrari F138||1:15.286||+ 0.908||17|
|5.||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W04||1:15.311||+ 0.933||20|
|6.||Kimi Räikkönen||Lotus F1 Renault E21||1:15.380||+ 1.002||19|
|7.||Mark Webber||Red Bull Racing Renault RB9||1:15.550||+ 1.172||20|
|8.||Paul di Resta||Force India Mercedes VJM06||1:15.594||+ 1.216||17|
|9.||Pastor Maldonado||Williams Renault FW35||1:15.861||+ 1.483||15|
|10.||Nico Hülkenberg||Sauber Ferrari C32||1:15.926||+ 1.548||25|
|11.||Sergio Pérez||McLaren Mercedes MP4-28||1:15.958||+ 1.580||23|
|12.||Jenson Button||McLaren Mercedes MP4-28||1:15.976||+ 1.598||19|
|13.||Jean-Éric Vergne||Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR8||1:15.976||+ 1.598||21|
|14.||Daniel Ricciardo||Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR8||1:16.060||+ 1.682||16|
|15.||Adrian Sutil||Force India Mercedes VJM06||1:16.068||+ 1.690||12|
|16.||Felipe Massa||Scuderia Ferrari F138||1:16.105||+ 1.727||8|
|17.||Esteban Gutiérrez||Sauber Ferrari C32||1:16.427||+ 2.049||26|
|18.||Valtteri Bottas||Williams Renault FW35||1:16.933||+ 2.555||17|
|19.||Charles Pic||Caterham Renault CT03||1:17.902||+ 3.524||20|
|20.||Giedo van der Garde||Caterham Renault CT03||1:18.102||+ 3.754||20|
|21.||Jules Bianchi||Marussia Cosworth MR02||1:18.706||+ 4.328||22|
|22.||Max Chilton||Marussia Cosworth MR02||1:19.228||+ 4.850||22|