The last few minutes of the first practice session at Monaco looked like the end of Q3.
A flurry of activity saw Nico Rosberg hit the top of the times before being beaten by Fernando Alonso and then Sebastian Vettel.
Lewis Hamilton tried to join in but was delayed by traffic in the middle of the lap after setting the fastest time through the first sector.
Alonso hit back with a 1’16.732 to go fastest. But Vettel had some more time in hand and took the fastest time by a tenth of a second.
It had been very different at the start of the session, where for a long period of time Narain Karthikeyan was the only driver on track in his HRT. He eventually logged 37 laps.
Team mate Vitantonio Liuzzi’s session came to an end when he crashed. He lost control of his car at the exit of the tunnel and hit the barrier on the inside approaching the chicane, damaging the front of the HRT.
Mark Webber never so much as completed a timed lap. He appeared to be stuck in gear as he drove slowly into the pits after just three laps.
The session was also disrupted by a red flag due to a water leak on the start/finish straight, but resumed after a brief delay.
Then five minutes from the end of the session Michael Schumacher went into the barrier at Sainte Devote. He braked too late, tried to drive into the escape road, but left it too late and hit the barrier.
Team mate Rosberg ended up third fastest, half a second slower than Vettel, ahead of Felipe Massa and Hamilton.
Pastor Maldonado put his Williams seventh fastest with a 1’18.527, and Adrian Sutil showed promise for Force India with eighth-fastest time.
2011 Monaco Grand Prix
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- Vettel would have gone the distance in Monaco – Pirelli
- Williams: first points of 2011 “bittersweet”
- 2011 Monaco Grand Prix: complete race weekend review
- Vettel made call to stay out, says Horner
- Hamilton apologises to Massa and Maldonado
- Vote for your Monaco Grand Prix Driver of the Weekend
- McLaren: Hamilton loses cool after weekend of frustration
- Red Bull: Vettel takes another win under pressure
- Ferrari: Red flag decided the race
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