Nico Rosberg set the fastest lap in the final practice session in Monaco this time around, just a few hours before the qualifying session gets underway.
It was not business as usual for some drivers, as there were plenty of scrapes, bruises and near-misses from the beginning. Just five minutes into the session, Kimi Raikkonen out-braked himself at Swimming Pool, ten minutes later it´s Jean-Eric Vergne who duplicates it, by running too far over the second part of Swimming Pool. Kamui Kobayashi ran a bit too far too, this time at Mirabeau and he used the escape road to spin the car around and re-joined. Team mate Sergio Perez scraped along the Armco barrier, also at Swimming Pool.
The session then calmed itself down a bit, as the drivers concentrated on fuel loads and tyre wear, how the surface works and the new improvements along the track. But with ten minutes to go, the action got tense once again.
Timo Glock scraped his tyres at a barrier, so the markings disappeared, then both Bruno Senna and Lewis Hamilton cut through the chicane, something several drivers have been doing during the practice sessions. But the real action came within five minutes left on the clock.
Perez almost runs into Hulkenberg coming through the final corner, as the Force India lifted off, and suddenly the Force India of Paul di Resta hit the barriers towards the Nouvelle Chicane, narrowly avoiding a big crash. And seconds later, Spanish GP winner Pastor Maldonado came to close on the left side into Casino, that his right front tyre caught the tyre wall, and sent him across the track into the left side barrier. He lost the right side of the front wing and the left rear tyre in the process. Replay showed how Maldonado and Perez touched wheels at Portier, a possible cause for the crash.
So as the red flag came out with three minutes left, and the debris was removed, the result looks like this:
Nico Rosberg ahead of Felipe Massa by just 0,038 seconds to spare, 3rd is Sebastian Vettel by just 0,012 behind, 4th is Fernando Alonso trailing Vettel by 0,001 seconds, in 5th a few tenths off the pace of Alonso is Romain Grosjean and 6th and 7th is Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton, again very close. The top ten is finished off by Michael Schumacher in 8th, Sergio Perez in 9th and Mark Webber in 10th.
The first ten drivers are covered by one second, the first 14 drivers are in good shape, a tenth faster or slower here and there. The drop-off comes in 15th place, where Nico Hulkenberg is half a second off the pace of Daniel Ricciardo in 14th, but on a positive note, the entire field is closer than ever before. Shy of 0,008, the entire field is covered by four seconds, from top to bottom.
|3.||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull||01:15.209||20|
|10.||Mark Webber||Red Bull||01:16.219||19|
|11.||Jean-Eric Vergne||Toro Rosso||01:16.226||20|
|14.||Daniel Ricciardo||Toro Rosso||01:16.479||20|
|15.||Nico Hülkenberg||Force India||01:17.027||20|
|18.||Paul di Resta||Force India||01:17.390||19|
|24.||Pedro de la Rosa||HRT||01:19.151||19|