Nico Rosberg continued his domination of the Monaco Grand Prix in an eventful final practice session which saw three drivers end their morning in the Monte Carlo barriers. Ferrari, Force India and Lotus are the teams facing a race against time to repair their cars following accidents for Felipe Massa, Adrian Sutil and Romain Grosjean.
Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull finally came to life in FP3 with the world champion setting the pace on the prime tyre but before anybody had the chance to try the super-softs, the first red flag period came about with Felipe Massa slamming his Ferrari into the barriers at Sainte Devote. The Brazilian’s initial error was to lock both front wheels under braking but instead of taking to the escape road, the Ferrari plunged straight into the left hand barrier before tagging the wall in the aforementioned escape road.
Once the debris was cleared, the qualifying simulations commenced but Adrian Sutil’s didn’t last too long before losing the back end of his Force India up at Massenet before sliding along the barrier. Luckily for the others, the car was craned away without the need for another stoppage and Grosjean leapt straight to the top of the timesheets when the track went green again.
Unfortunately for the Frenchman and Lotus, he was the next to come unstuck and for the second time this weekend, Sainte Devote would catch him out. Romain had actually clipped the wall already at the Nouvelle chicane on his first run which caused a left rear puncture but a spin at the first corner a minute from the end would do much greater damage. The subsequent red flag would also end the session.
Rosberg had found a gap between the mayhem to set the fastest lap time of the weekend, a 1:14.378, while the crash from Grosjean would ensure he stayed second, albeit six tenths adrift. With so few drivers able to get in a clear lap on option tyres, Vettel’s lap on the primes kept him up in third ahead of Fernando Alonso, Lewis Hamilton and Kimi Raikkonen who had a nervous moment at Mirabeau which forced him to reverse out of the run-off area.
Mark Webber was seventh for Red Bull with Paul Di Resta giving Force India some reason for cheer in eighth. Pastor Maldonado rediscovered his best Monaco form to take ninth while the McLarens of Sergio Perez and Jenson Button were tenth and twelfth, setting their nest lap times on the prime tyre.