Monaco GP - Saturday - Practice Session 3 Report
Kubica Proves Monaco Potential
Robert Kubica (1:14.806) set the fastest time in the final session of free practice for the Monaco Grand Prix as teams bolted on soft rubber and prepared for the most important qualifying session of the season.
Thursday pace setter Fernando Alonso finished the session down in 16th place after getting on the marbles into Massenet, running wide and clouting the barrier on the right.
Kubica, third quickest in FP1 and sixth in FP2, looks like a genuine contender for pole position, his lap 0.05s quicker than Felipe Massa's Ferrari (1:14.852). Barcelona winner Mark Webber (1:14.945) was a tenth down on the Ferrari, with Lewis Hamilton's McLaren (1:15.038) just a hundredth quicker than Sebastian Vettel with the second Red Bull.
Both Mercedes drivers were evenly matched, with Michael Schumacher lapping in 1:15.236 and Nico Rosberg in 1:15.252. Sebastian Buemi (1:15.537) did a good job to put the first Toro Rosso eighth, from Adrian Sutil's Force India (1:15.659) and 2009 Monaco winner Jenson Button (1:15.682).
The main concern among the leading teams is the ability to find a clear lap in Q1 when all 24 cars will be on circuit at the same time with a big variation in speed. That is always the case but the Monte Carlo lap is only 75s long for the quick men and with many of the teams reporting that the quickest lap is coming on the second lap with Bridgestone's option rubber, there is clearly potential for controversy and for some of the big names to trip up.
Fastest of F1's new teams was again Lotus Racing, with Heikki Kovalaien setting 1:17.782, 0.08s quicker than team mate Jarno Trulli. Lucas di Grassi set a 1:18.063 for Virgin Racing as team mate Timo Glock failed to run, while HRT drivers Bruno Senna and Karun Chandhok both lapped in 1:19.7.