Final practice - Alonso tops disjointed Monaco session 28 May 2011
Fernando Alonso continued to set the pace on Saturday morning in a final Monaco practice session that was book-ended by heavy accidents.
It was only minutes old when Nico Rosberg lost control of his Mercedes over the bumps exiting the tunnel and slammed right into the barriers before being flicked back through the chicane very narrowly missing the middle wall separating the track from the escape road and came to rest partway along the road to Tabac. The German was very lucky to step out unharmed and the team have a major task readying the car for qualifying.
At the end, Tonio Liuzzis HRT got away from him and its left rear wheel clobbered the tyre wall at Ste Devote before the wreckage slithered up the hill towards Massenet. The Italian also climbed out unhurt, but the team face their second rebuild of the weekend.
In warm and sunny weather Alonso worked confidently down to 1m 14.433s on Pirellis red super-soft tyre, the fastest time thus far this weekend but still a little way off Mark Webbers 2010 pole time of 1m 13.826s. Jenson Button got closest to the Spaniard, with 1m 14.996s for McLaren, and Felipe Massa was third on 1m 15.024s in the second Ferrari.
Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber were fourth and seventh for Red Bull, the world champion lapping in 1m 15.245s and last years winner one of few drivers to improve, to 1m 15.529s, when the session was resumed for two minutes after Liuzzis mess was cleaned up.
Michael Schumacher showed the strong form Mercedes had been expecting with fifth fastest 1m 15.310s, but Lewis Hamilton didnt get a proper run on the red tyres and was only sixth on 1m 15.386s in his McLaren.
Toro Rosso had a promising morning, with Jaime Alguersuari eighth on 1m 16.617s ahead of team mate Sebastien Buemi on 1m 16.736s, while a late post-Liuzzi run from Sergio Perez knocked Paul di Resta off 10th slot. The Mexican took his Sauber round in 1m 16.821s, the Scot his Force India in 1m 16.990s.
Rubens Barrichello was 12th for Williams on 1m 17.196s with team mate Pastor Maldonado next on 1m 17.333s, then came Kamui Kobayashi on 1m 17.403s in the second Sauber and the troubled Renaults of Vitaly Petrov and Nick Heidfeld on 1m 17.779s and 1m 17.880s respectively. Adrian Sutil was 17th in the other Force India on 1m 18.069s, ahead of the Lotus of Heikki Kovalainen on 1m 18.115s.
Virgin made some encouraging progress, with Timo Glock close to the green and yellow car with 1m 18.580s and Jerome DAmbrosio on 1m 18.808s. Jarno Trulli was 21st in the second Lotus, shaving his time to 1m 19.259s after the resumption, while Liuzzis 1m 20.115s left him 22nd ahead of team mate Narain Karthikeyan who ran him close with 1m 20.278s. Rosberg did not record a time.
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