Rosberg quickest in dramatic final practice
25 May 2013 – Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg topped a dramatic final practice session in Monaco on Saturday morning, posting an effort of 1:15.039 to comfortably outpace Romain Grosjean, who brought the session to an early end after crashing at Sainte Devote for the second time this weekend. Reigning World Champion Sebastian Vettel finished third fastest, while Felipe Massa and Adrian Sutil also crashed heavily.
Conditions were similar to the opening pair of practice sessions when Saturday's action got underway, although dark clouds highlighted a growing threat ahead of the qualifying hour this afternoon. As the drivers attempted to find the limit, three major victims were claimed. Massa was the first of these, locking up both front tyres before sliding uncontrollably into the left-hand Armco and tyre barriers at the first corner.
The Brazilian's accident, from which he escaped unharmed, caused the first of two red flags. Before the second and final stoppage, Adrian Sutil repeated Fernando Alonso's practice crash from 2010, with the Force India driver losing control under braking for Massenet and hitting the wall. With just a couple of minutes remaining, Grosjean concluded the drama by sliding into the barriers at Sainte Devote.
In between the drama, Rosberg rose to the top with a stunning lap on the Super Soft compound. Despite kissing the barriers at Portier, the German set overall best times in all three sectors to lead Grosjean by more than six tenths of a second. Fernando Alonso kept third-placed Vettel in check, while Lewis Hamilton and Kimi Räikkönen, who has been forced to modify his helmet design, completed the top six runners.
Mark Webber and Paul di Resta were next up as the chequered flag fell, just ahead of Monaco specialist Pastor Maldonado and Sauber's Nico Hülkenberg. McLaren pairing Sergio Pérez and Jenson Button had to settle for 11th and 12th positions respectively, with both men finishing over 1.5 seconds adrift of Rosberg's pace-setting effort.
At the back of the field, Caterham duo Charles Pic and Giedo van der Garde set the standard and sent a clear message to main rivals Marussia prior to qualifying.
Saturday afternoon’s all-important qualifying session in Monte-Carlo begins at 2pm local time (GMT +2) and can be tracked via the GPUpdate.net live report feature