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GP Week : Issue 183
The final practice session of the Monaco Grand Prix weekend was a chaotic hour that saw numerous shunts, one of which was severe enough to have a knock-on effect on the afternoon’s qualifying. Felipe Massa locked up his front brakes and crashed into the barriers at Sainte Devote, smashing every corner of his car in the process and bringing out the red flag. The damage prevented Massa from taking part in qualifying. Next to crash was Romain Grosjean, who also damaged his car on the St Devote barriers, while Adrian Sutil had a less spectacular collision with the barriers at Massenet. The drama didn’t end there. With a wet lunch break between the sessions, qualifying started on a damp track, and in less than two minutes Q1 had claimed its first casualty: the Marussia of Jules Banchi, which drew to a halt having belched out plumes of smoke. The changeable weather conditions meant that the opening stages of Q1 were far busier than normal, with the drivers doing their best to set a banker on inters in case conditions worsened. In the closing minutes, Grosjean made it out of the garage and went fastest on his first timed lap. Equally impressive was Giedo van der Garde, who made it into Q2 for the first time. The second session began as rapidly as the first, with grey clouds continuing to roll across Monaco from the sea. Inters remained the tyres of choice, with countless drivers coming off at Sainte Devote before returning to the track. Timing was paramount, with drivers setting a banker and then keeping a watchful eye on the skies while sitting in the pits. By the time the top 10 shoot-out began, the supersoft was the tyre compound of choice. All ten men were out of the pits as soon as the track opened, with grid position key to Monaco success. Hamilton was the first man to set a truly representative time with a 1m15.790s, before Mark responded with a 1m15.134s. Red Bull looked to have found the speed missing for much of the weekend, with Sebastian Vettel claiming provisional pole with a 1m14.333s. The busy session saw drivers taking two laps to get their tyres up to temperature, meaning the streets of Monaco were filled with traffic for the duration of Q3. Webber took provisional pole from his teammate, before being scooped by first Hamilton and then Rosberg. Mercedes thus scored another front row lock-out, with local boy Rosberg claiming top honours. QUALIFYING 1. Nico Rosberg (Mercedes) 1m13.876s 2. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 1m13.967s 3. Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull) 1m13.980s 4. Mark Webber (Red Bull) 1m14.181s 5. Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus) 1m14.822s 6. Fernando Alonso (Ferrari) 1m14.824s 7. Sergio Perez (McLaren) 1m15.138s 8. Adrian Sutil (Force India) 1m15.383s 9. Jenson Button (McLaren) 1m15.647s 10. Jean-Eric Vergne (Toro Rosso) 1m15.703s 11. Nico Hulkenberg (Sauber) 1m18.331s 12. Daniel Ricciardo (Toro Rosso) 1m18.344s 13. Romain Grosjean (Lotus) 1m18.603s 14. Valtteri Bottas (Williams) 1m19.077s 15. Giedo van der Garde (Caterham) 1m19.408s 16. Pastor Maldonado (Williams) 1m21.88s 17. Paul di Resta (Force India) 1m26.322s 18. Charles Pic (Caterham) 1m26.633s 19. Esteban Gutierrez (Sauber) 1m26.917s 20. Max Chilton (Marussia) 1m27.303s 21. Jules Bianchi (Marussia) NO TIME SET 22. Felipe Massa (Ferrari) NO TIME SET* Felipe Massa was issued with a five-place grid penalty for an unscheduled gearbox change, and started from P22. The Brazilian was unable to take part in qualifying following a significant shunt in FP3. DEJA-VU UP FRONT; crashes affect the mid-f ield 29 GPWEEK.com // 29 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: F1 >>> MONACO