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Rosberg tops final practice in Monaco

Nico Rosberg posted the fastest time of final free practice at the Monaco Grand Prix, but his efforts were overshadoweed by an unsavoury incident elsewhere.

Nico Rosberg threw another name into the ring as potential polewinner for the Monaco Grand Prix, but Spanish GP surprise Pastor Maldonado may have removed his candidature after a bout of automotive fisticuffs with Sergio Perez.

After the time lost to red flags, green track surfaces and rain on Thursday, and with 24 hours to pore over the data the opening day churned out, the teams had a lot to get through in the final hour of action before qualifying in the Principality. None exemplified the lack of knowledge of what to expect than Ferrari, which sent Fernando Alonso out with his rear wing again masked yellow by flo-vis paint, while Kimi Raikkonen immediately started banging in the laps after having had to sit out the entire Thursday morning session.

Raikkonen and Rosberg traded the initial benchmark times, before Paul di Resta briefly got in on the act for Force India, but it was Lotus' Romain Grosjean who looked most impressive in the early stages, reeling off a string of fastest laps and taking the target time down below 1min 16secs for the first time.

The Frenchman remained at the head of the pile for some time, until Rosberg bolted on a set of Pirelli's supersoft tyres and immediately gained in performance as a result. Having moved into P1, the Mercedes driver then took a full half-second of his time next lap around, posting a 1min 15.159secs effort that would remain unbeaten to the end of the hour.

In reality, for the second day, the session failed to get a full allocation of track action as, once again, red flags flew in the closing minutes. The cause this time was the stricken Williams of Maldonado, which made heavy contact with the inside barrier at Casino Square before then losing its left-rear corner on the opposite side of the road. That would have been enough to move the Venezuelan some way down the scale from hero towards zero after his Barcelona success, but television replays then proceeded to show the volatile South American throwing his car at Perez at Portier on the previous lap. While the Williams team may have been able to give Maldonado a repaired car in order to chase a good qualifying result, the stewards may not be so forgiving....

Maldonado ended the session down in 21st spot, ahead only of Charles Pic and the two HRTs but, at the other end of the field, Felipe Massa staked his claim for an unexpected run at pole with second fastest time, ahead of world champion Sebastian Vettel - who had earlier been plagued by understeer - Fernando Alonso and Grosjean. Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton, in the two McLarens, were next up in sixth and seventh, while Michael Schumacher, Perez and Mark Webber rounded out the top ten.

Raikkonen, for all his early pacesetting, wound up twelfth, but appeared to be working more on race pace while his younger team-mate hammered around in search of a qualifying set-up. There were also incidents aside from those involving Maldonado, with Jean-Eric Vergne twice messing up at the Swimming Poll, Kamui Kobayashi disappearing down the Mirabeau escape road, di Resta crunching the nose of his car after finding the notorious bump between tunnel and chicane, and Lewis Hamilton escaping a monster lock-up heading into Ste Devote. Only Maldonado, however, appears to have concerns before qualifying.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
24.05.2012- Pastor Maldonado (VEN) Williams F1 Team FW34
24.05.2012- Free Practice 2, Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB8
24.05.2012- Free Practice 2, Felipe Massa (BRA) Scuderia Ferrari F2012
24.05.2012- Free Practice 1, Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W03
23.06.2017 - Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W08
23.06.2017 - Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W08
22.06.2017 -Mercedes AMG F1 W08 steering wheel.
22.06.2017 - Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Renault Sport F1 Team RS17 and Guenther Steiner (ITA) Haas F1 Team Prinicipal
22.06.2017 - Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Renault Sport F1 Team RS17
22.06.2017 - Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Mercedes AMG F1 W08
22.06.2017 - Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Mercedes AMG F1 W08
22.06.2017 - Press conference, Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Mercedes AMG F1 W08
22.06.2017 - Press conference, Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Mercedes AMG F1 W08
22.06.2017 - Press conference, Esteban Ocon (FRA) Sahara Force India F1 VJM10 and Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Mercedes AMG F1 W08
22.06.2017 - Press conference, Mercedes AMG F1 W08, detail
22.06.2017 - Romain Grosjean (FRA) Haas F1 Team VF-17 and Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Mercedes AMG F1 W08
22.06.2017 - Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Mercedes AMG F1 W08
22.06.2017 - Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W08

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May 26, 2012 12:37 PM

Just seen Madonaro ram yet another car. The Wiliams mechanics must be really impressed. To get a 10 place penalty is not a suitable reprimand. PM needs to learn a lesson, this is disgraceful driving. I wonder if Frank still thinks PM is a great driver?

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