Sutil surprises in final practice 26 May 2007
If Saturday mornings wet practice session in Monaco is anything to go by, qualifying will be an absolute lottery if conditions remain similar.
To begin with the streets of the Principality were damp, but soon they were awash after a heavy downpour. The stars at that stage were Mark Webber, Anthony Davidson, Kimi Raikkonen, Lewis Hamilton and Tonio Liuzzi, all of whom had spells setting the fastest time. After 20 minutes the order was Raikkonen, Nick Heidfeld, Liuzzi, Adrian Sutil and Nico Rosberg.
As conditions improved, Felipe Massa and Raikkonen traded fastest lap in their Ferraris. At one stage the Brazilian redefined the best lap with 1m 38.770s, only for the Finn to put him down with 1m 37.773s before Massa replied with 1m 37.997s. All good fun.
Just after the halfway point they were ahead of Rosberg, Hamilton and Jenson Button, before the Honda driver had a spell at the top. Then conditions began to improve further, leading to a dramatic final shootout which was won by Sutil in the Spyker!
The German was always quick when he was Hamiltons team mate in F3, and reminded people of that with a very nice lap of 1m 36.612s. It was perfectly timed.
Behind him, everyone scrabbled for a clear run, not all of them succeeding. Raikkonen and Hamilton came closest, with laps of 1m 36.739s and 1m 36.767s respectively, then came Giancarlo Fisichella (1m 36.784s) and Scott Speed (who starred in the final part for Toro Rosso and lapped his STR02 in 1m 36.954s).
Fernando Alonso was sixth in the second McLaren with a lap of 1m 37.020s, looking a little more relaxed than Hamilton who had two visits to the Ste Devote escape road in the course of his runs. The Spaniard was ahead of Heikki Kovalainen (1m 37.214s), Rosberg (1m 37.388s), Button (1m 37.442s), Rubens Barrichello (1m 37.463s), Webber (1m 37.732s) and Massa (1m 37.997s).
Takuma Sato had the odd adventure on his way to 13th place for Super Aguri in 1m 38.121s, with team mate Davidson right behind on 1m 38.180s. David Coulthard only ran right at the end after problems with his Red Bull, and lapped in 1m 38.302s for 15th in front of the BMW Saubers of Robert Kubica and Heidfeld (1m 38.463s and 1m 38.899s respectively). They were separated, however, by Alex Wurz, who did 1m 38.876s after a spin at Mirabeau.
Christijan Albers was another spinner, at Loews, before taking his Spyker round in 1m 38.935s for 19th.
The Toyotas of Ralf Schumacher and Jarno Trulli sandwiched Liuzzis Toro Rosso at the back; the German lapped in 1m 40.677s, and the Italian in 1m 41.018s and 1m 43.417s respectively. Liuzzis time was the one with which he was fastest when the track was pretty wet; after that run he had problems and did not go out again.
The skies are still cloudy here, and the strong chance of a wet qualifying session cannot be discounted.