F1 Monaco FP3 Results & Report: Alonso Quickest in Final Practice, Liuzzi & Rosberg Stop the Session


What Happens When Monaco Gets Out Its Claws

6:12am EST — Fernando Alonso (1:14.443) was quickest in the final practice session for the 2011 Monaco Grand Prix, with Jenson Button the only other driver to post a lap time under 1:15s in a session stopped by two red flags. Nico Rosberg paused the final practice early on, in a terrible looking shunt through the Nouvelle Chicane, flying through the air and very narrowly missing a head-on collision into the wall. Late in the session, Tonio Liuzzi slid heavily into the barrier just past the apex of St. Devote to cause the second red flag. Both drivers were uninjured. Felipe Massa, Alonso’s Ferrari teammate, was third fastest, with Sebastian Vettel and Michael Schumacher completing the fastest five.

Thursday’s practices saw Alonso quicker than usual for Ferrari, barely losing the top spot on the timesheets to Vettel at the end of the morning session and fastest of all in the afternoon practice. Rosberg, Massa, and Hamilton completed the fastest five in the morning while Hamilton, Rosberg, Button, and Vettel were the quickest behind Alonso in the afternoon. Webber was only ninth fastest Thursday afternoon after gearbox issues halted his morning running.

Neither of the Thursday practices saw the extreme damage that comes from an off at Monaco, with only a couple of cars getting sideways enough into a barrier to end their session or run repairs into the next. Drivers seemed most likely to slide down the escape road at St. Devote, with only Schumacher and Maldonado damaging their cars after missing the braking point. Liuzzi was the first to hit the barriers on Thursday, damaging his HRT in a spin after exiting the tunnel, with Petrov similarly crashing his Renault that afternoon.

Saturday began another gorgeously sunny day in Monaco, with Kobayashi, Glock, and Kovalainen amongst the first rush to get on track for the hourlong final practice session. Unfortunately, things were not rosy at Lotus, despite their insistence that the recent court battle was decided in their favor. “Lots of the team suffering from food poisioning but operating as normal,” tweeted Mike Gascoyne. Schumacher was the first to set a time, five minutes in, starting at 1:22.441, though he quickly improved that time by more than two seconds. He and teammate Rosberg were the only drivers on track after early installation laps from everyone else.

Red Flag:
Rosberg would not last long on the circuit, causing a red flag with less than ten minutes gone in the session. He had a small twitch from the rear on a bump in the track after exiting the tunnel, only to smash into the Armco, go straight through the chicane, flying over the kerbs meant to slow down drivers cutting the chicane into the air, and narrowly missing running head on into the barrier separating track from escape road and marshal’s stand. He was unhurt, but the car seemingly had damage at all four corners. The time continued to tick away as the debris was cleared.

Track Re-Open:
Schumacher (1:19.962) still stood as both the fastest and only time when the track reopened after his teammate’s shunt with thirty-nine minutes remaining. There was a rush to get back out onto the circuit, with drivers having lost ten minutes of session time. Quickly, drivers began setting times, though all were well off Schumacher’s earlier pace until they had completed a couple laps. The German, though, was flying and continuously improving his earlier time. Alonso was the first to beat Schumacher, with a 1:18.150. Then Perez muscled his Sauber around and to the top, besting Alonso’s time by a tenth. Massa, then Buemi, and Button all beat them, only to have Alonso back to the top, dropping into the 1:15s.

Halfway:
Alonso (1:15.924) led with thirty minutes left in the session, 1.2s faster than Button. Buemi, Massa, Perez, Kobayashi, Petrov, Webber, Schumacher, and di Resta completed the fastest ten. Meanwhile, Vettel, Maldonado, Barrichello, Hamilton, and of course Rosberg had set no times. Vettel was third fastest on his first fast lap as teammate Webber also moved up, to fifth. After a time back in the garage, Schumacher returned to near the top of the timesheets, splitting Alonso and Button, with Massa joining him.

Vettel, meanwhile, seemed unable to get a clear lap to set a fast time, just until he did. The reigning champion was soon fastest (1:15.423), followed by Hamilton, then Alonso as just over twenty minutes remained. Webber soon bettered Alonso’s time to go third fastest, with Schumacher, Massa, Button, Maldonado, Buemi, and Heidfeld completing the top ten with twenty minutes of running left. Vettel was soon faster, dropping nearly two tenths off his lap time, leaving Hamilton nearly a half second slower than his rival.

15 Minutes Remaining:
Vettel (1:15.245) led Button, Hamilton, Webber, and Alonso as the top five with fifteen minutes to run in the session. Alonso looked to be on a very quick lap his first time on the softer tire, only to encounter traffic from fellow Spaniard Alguersuari. His next lap took him to fastest and the first driver under 1:15s, with a time of 1:14. 433. Button soon joined him, a half second quicker on the super softs than Vettel on the harder but still soft tire. Massa slid into third fastest on his own softer tire soon thereafter, only to find himself making use of the St. Devote escape road minutes later. Both he and the car escaped damage.

Red Flag:
The session was paused again with six minutes remaining with another red flag. This time, Liuzzi lost the rear after looking quite wobbly on the uneven streets of Monaco, sliding sideways into the barrier through St. Devote. It would be unlikely that HRT could repair the car in time for qualifying. The session restarted with just two minutes remaining and the cars streamed back onto the circuit for the third time, mainly going around for the chance to do a practice start at the end of the session.

Final Times for FP3, Monaco Grand Prix:

Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:14.433 18
2. Jenson Button McLaren 1:14.996 +0.563 17
3. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:15.024 +0.591 19
4. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1:15.245 +0.812 19
5. Michael Schumacher Mercedes GP 1:15.310 +0.877 21
6. Lewis Hamilton McLaren 1:15.386 +0.953 14
7. Mark Webber Red Bull 1:15.529 +1.096 19
8. Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso 1:16.617 +2.184 13
9. Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso 1:16.736 +2.303 15
10. Sergio Perez Sauber 1:16.821 +2.388 19
11. Paul di Resta Force India 1:16.990 +2.557 20
12. Rubens Barrichello Williams 1:17.196 +2.763 13
13. Pastor Maldonado Williams 1:17.333 +2.900 17
14. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber 1:17.403 +2.970 18
15. Vitaly Petrov Renault 1:17.779 +3.346 17
16. Nick Heidfeld Renault 1:17.880 +3.447 17
17. Adrian Sutil Force India 1:18.069 +3.636 17
18. Heikki Kovalainen Lotus 1:18.115 +3.682 20
19. Timo Glock Virgin Racing 1:18.580 +4.147 21
20. Jerome D’Ambrosio Virgin Racing 1:18.808 +4.375 21
21. Jarno Trulli Lotus 1:19.259 +4.826 19
22. Tonio Liuzzi HRT 1:20.115 +5.682 15
23. Narian Karthikeyan HRT 1:20.278 +5.845 16
24. Nico Rosberg Mercedes GP N/T N/T 3
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