Alonso fastest in final Monaco practice

As Rosberg and Liuzzi crash

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28 May 2011 - 12:11
Alonso fastest in final Monaco (...)

After a day-off on Friday it was time for the Formula One field to get back in the groove this morning.

They contested the third and final practice session of the weekend, gearing up their preparations towards the crucial qualifying session and, obviously, the race.

Fernando Alonso set the fastest time, 0.5s clear of Jenson Button and Felipe Massa. Reigning World Champion Sebastian Vettel was fourth fastest, 0.8 behind Alonso but didn’t have the opportunity to complete a flying lap on the super soft tyre. Schumacher and Hamilton rounded off the top six.

The session was red-flagged twice, following crashes from Rosberg and Liuzzi.

How the session unfolded :

Installation laps animated the first part of the session, as always, but were more important than usual as there was no F1 action yesterday. It was essential for teams and drivers to sample the track conditions before tackling their working programs.

Michael Schumacher didn’t waste any time and posted a time on the board with merely five minutes gone. He was soon joined on track by his teammate Nico Rosberg. The younger German was on his first timed lap when he lost his Mercedes under braking for the chicane. He hit the wall and torpedoed through the chicane. His car then crossed the track to brush the railguards on the run to the Tabac corner before coming to a halt.

Rosberg was unhurt but his Mercedes was severely battered, meaning the team would face a race against time to fix it in time for qualifying.

The session was interrupted for fourteen minutes as marshals cleared and cleaned the track.

Cars were piling up at the end of the pitlane when the light turned green. More than half of the field came out for a first proper run.

Schumacher resumed his work and set the early pace. Alonso’s first effort saw him jump at the top of the standings. His teammate Massa moved up into 3rd as Jenson Button started his first flying lap of the session. The British driver set the fastest time… only for Alonso to lower his benchmark and reclaim top spot.

Shortly after the halfway point, Sebastian Vettel joined the fun and went third quickest. Schumacher then bounced up in 2nd, with a run on the super soft tyres. As drivers came back in the pits, Vettel made the most of a clear track to move on top. Hamilton went 2nd and Webber third.

With twenty minutes remaining, Vettel from leading from Hamilton, Webber, Alonso and Schumacher. The top seven was covered by 0.9s.

Vettel found more improvement on his long first run and further lowered his own benchmark. As he pitted, Alonso and Button came out with the super soft tyre. The McLaren driver moved up to 2nd while the Spaniard had to back off as he came across his countryman Alguersuari.

The second attempt was the good one for Alonso who topped the standings with a 1’14’’’433. Button also managed to jump Vettel, so did Massa. Hamilton looked en route to beating Vettel as well but dived in the pitlane.

The session was red-flagged with six minutes remaining as Tonio Liuzzi smashed his HRT into the barriers at the exit of Ste Devote. There were two minutes left on the clock when the track was reopened.

The Saubers were first on the line and were followed by most of the field. In fact, Alguersuari and Karthikeyan were the only ones remaining in the pits. Given the traffic, few drivers managed to improve.

Alonso held on to top spot in front of Button. Massa was third with Vettel fourth, Schumacher fifth and Hamilton sixth.

FP3 classification:

Pos.DriverTeamTimeGapLaps
01 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1.14.433 18
02 Jenson Button McLaren Mercedes 1.14.996 +0.563 17
03 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1.15.024 +0.591 19
04 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Renault 1.15.245 +0.812 19
05 Michael Schumacher Mercedes GP 1.15.310 +0.877 21
06 Lewis Hamilton McLaren Mercedes 1.15.386 +1.059 14
07 Mark Webber Red Bull Renault 1.15.529 +1.096 19
08 Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso Ferrari 1.16.617 +2.184 13
09 Sébastien Buemi Toro Rosso Ferrari 1.16.736 +2.303 15
10 Sergio Perez Sauber Ferrari 1.16.821 +2.388 19
11 Paul di Resta Force India Mercedes 1.16.990 +2.557 20
12 Rubens Barrichello Williams Cosworth 1.17.196 +2.763 13
13 Pastor Maldonado Williams Cosworth 1.17.333 +2.900 17
14 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber Ferrari 1.17.403 +2.970 18
15 Vitaly Petrov Lotus Renault GP 1.17.779 +3.346 17
16 Nick Heidfeld Lotus Renault GP 1.17.880 +3.447 17
17 Adrian Sutil Force India Mercedes 1.18.069 +3.636 17
18 Heikki Kovalainen Team Lotus Renault 1.18.115 +3.682 20
19 Timo Glock Marussia Virgin Racing Cosworth 1.18.580 +4.147 21
20 Jérôme d’Ambrosio Marussia Virgin Racing Cosworth 1.18.808 +4.375 21
21 Jarno Trulli Team Lotus Renault 1.19.259 +4.826 19
22 Vitantonio Liuzzi HRT F1 Cosworth 1.20.115 +5.682 15
23 Narain Karthikeyan HRT F1 Cosworth 1.20.278 +5.845 16
24 Nico Rosberg Mercedes GP -.—.--- +-.--- 3

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