Monaco GP 2012
MAY 26, 2012
Practice 3 Report - Rosberg quickest; Maldonado shunts
Nico Rosberg (1:15.159) set the fastest lap of the final session of free practice ahead of Monaco qualifying.
The Mercedes was just four hundredths clear of a resurgent Felipe Massa in the Ferrari (1:15.197), who was a hundredth clear of Sebastian Vettel's Red Bull (1:15.209), the world champion himself a hundredth in front of Fernando Alonso (1:15.210) in the second Ferrari.
Romain Grosjean (1:15.445) still looks like being in the thick of the pole fight, the Lotus driver setting his time earlier in the session.
Not everyone managed to set representative laps on the supersoft tyre when the session was red-flagged a couple of minutes before the end after Barcelona winner Pastor Maldonado did his Monaco chances a power of no good with a crash in Casino Square.
The Venezuelan could also be in hot water with the stewards after a slow-speed territorial dispute with Sergio Perez at Portiers, that included contact with the Sauber and prompted some fist-waving from the Mexican.
Williams spent much of the session running heavy fuel loads, with Maldonado and Bruno Senna circulating a good 3.5s off the ultimate pace. It can be a big task to then take the fuel out and bolt on a set of supersoft tyres and have the driver immediately hit the sweet spot of a very different car around the confines of Monaco.
Maldonado clipped the barrier on the inside of the exit to Casino square, damaged the nose and was then sent across the track into the exit barrier, tearing the left rear wheel from the car.
The big question mark for Williams will be the extent of the damage and whether they can repair the car and get Maldonado out, with just a two-hour window before the start of qualifying.
Jenson Button (1:15.471) was sixth fastest for McLaren, with team mate Lewis Hamilton (1:15.734), highly fancied in Monaco, among those who did not get his supersoft lap in.
Michael Schumacher (1:15.893) put the second Mercedes eighth, ahead of Perez's Sauber (1:16.110) and Mark Webber's Red Bull (1:16.219).