Rosberg still ahead in eventful FP3

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Monaco, Monte Carlo Circuitmc

Nico Rosberg also ended the final practice session on top, although it appears that mainly Red Bull have managed to improve the performance of their cars since FP2. During the session, Massa, Sutil and Grosjean all went off at various points in the track, with Massa's car being the most badly damaged of all.

FP3 kicked off under sunny skies with nearly all cars out immediately to do an installation lap. Temperature this morning is 18°C with the track 27°C. The wind has picked up a bit since yesterday, now 4m/s from the South.

After the installation laps, Esteban Gutierrez is the first to post a laptime, followed by the Marussia and Caterham cars. While the top teams are in the pits, Mercedes gets its cars out for an out and an in lap, 3 times in a row. The team is clearly checking some systems or setup before setting a time.

20 minutes into the session, Vettel goes on top of the timesheet, setting a time faster than what he has done so far this weekend. Mark Webber is 5 tenths slower, followed by Maldonado who is a further tenth down.

5 minutes later Alonso posts his first time. A 1:16.077 is good for 6th.

Grosjean meanwhile cut the chicane a little but too much and hit the left inside barrier with his left rear wheel. The car didn't appear damaged, but the tyre popped off the rim.

35 minutes into the session, the first laps from Mercedes show that Red Bull have indeed found considerable speed since the first practice sessions. Rosberg and Hamilton are initially unable to bet Vettel's time, although the difference is extremely small.

37 minutes into the session marks the final lap for Felipe Massa in this session as he had a heavy crash in turn 1. When starting to brake for turn 1, the Brazilian locked up both front wheels, rendering his steering useless. The lockup was so violent he actually went head on into the barrier on the left hand side, even before the turn in point. The car rolled through and then went with the right side into the barriers of St. Devote, breaking a lot of pieces of that car, including both front wheels, the nose and various elements around the sidepod area.

The track is subsequently red flagged for 5 minutes. One minute later, Adrian Sutil also crashes off. He's out in turn 3. The rear simply stepped out, with the correcting move on the steering wheel sending his car into the outside barrier. The right hand front wheel is broken off, but the car is much less damaged that Felipe Massa's Ferrari.

With only minor debris on track, only a yellow flag is necessary as the car is quickly pulled away from the track.

Lotus then comes on track on the super softs. With 10 minutes left, Grosjean posts the fastest time while Raikkonen moves up to in 4th. A bit later Rosberg moves into first place again, beating Grosjean by more than 6 tenths, even after hitting the barrier slightly with the rear wheel after going on the throttle a little bit early at Portiers.

A few minutes ahead of the end of the session Grosjean crashes out, marking his third meeting with the barriers this weekend. The Frenchman cut across the yellow pitlane exit line while Hamilton was exiting. Grosjean appeared surprised and checked the mirror after passing, but he was subsequently caught out at St. Devote where he lost control of his car over the inside curb, eventually breaking off the left rear suspension and then the front right when coming back to the inside after the impact.

So close to the end of the session, this simply ended it, leaving Rosberg unthreated on top, although Vettel surely was able to do better than what he managed to record up until that moment.

Results

PNameTimeGapS1S2S3Lap
1.N. Rosberg1:14.378-19.434.620.217
2.R. Grosjean1:15.0390.66119.734.820.49
3.S. Vettel1:15.2610.88319.735.020.48
4.F. Alonso1:15.2860.90819.735.020.413
5.L. Hamilton1:15.3110.93319.734.820.717
6.K. Raikkonen1:15.3801.00219.735.020.512
7.M. Webber1:15.5501.17220.034.920.517
8.P. di Resta1:15.5941.21619.935.020.616
9.P. Maldonado1:15.8611.48319.935.420.55
10.N. Hulkenberg1:15.9261.54820.235.120.519
11.S. Perez1:15.9581.58019.835.620.517
12.J. Button1:15.9761.59819.935.320.78
13.J. Vergne1:15.9761.59820.035.020.820
14.A. Sutil1:16.0681.69020.035.320.69
15.F. Massa1:16.1051.72720.035.220.86
16.E. Gutierrez1:16.4272.04920.035.221.025
17.D. Ricciardo1:16.7032.32520.135.520.97
18.V. Bottas1:16.9332.55520.235.621.05
19.C. Pic1:17.9023.52420.536.121.219
20.G. van der Garde1:18.1023.72420.436.321.217
21.J. Bianchi1:18.7064.32820.236.821.519
22.M. Chilton1:19.2284.85020.936.521.817