Rosberg fastest as Maldonado crashes in Monaco

2012 Monaco Grand Prix third practice

Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, Monaco, 2012Nico Rosberg set the fastest time in final practice for the Monaco Grand Prix.

But the session came to a controversial end as the winner of the last race, Pastor Maldonado, appeared to cause a collision with Sergio Perez.

Moments later Maldonado crashed his Williams, bringing the session to an end.

Kimi Raikkonen had done little running on Thursday, so he was one of the first to take to the circuit as the final hour of practice began.

He was joined by Schumacher, the Mercedes driver troubled by a gearbox problem on his car. As was the case on Thursday, his engineer warned him he was overlapping the brake and throttle on his car at the chicane, as well as Sainte Devote.

Raikkonen headed the times to begin with before team mate Romain Grosjean took over in the other Lotus, setting a best of 1’15.811.

Sergio Perez was among the quickest runners on the soft tyres, but lost time after glancing the barriers, damaging his car.

One of the first drivers to switch to super-soft tyres was Nico Rosberg. He set a 1’15.159 with his second effort, saying the rear tyres only came in on the second lap.

The two Ferraris got closest to his effort and unusually it was Massa who led the pair, just 0.038s slower than the Mercedes, Alonso just 0.013s behind his team mate.

Vettel had languished in the middle of the times sheets before putting on the super-softs. He managed to split the two Ferraris, lapping just a thousandth of a second faster than Alonso.

The final moments brought drama. Paul di Resta hit trouble at the same spot as Perez’s crash the year before, spinning and clipping the barrier on the approach to the chicane.

Perez himself was then involved in a bizarre incident with Pastor Maldonado. The Spanish Grand Prix winner turned across the front of the Sauber at Portier, making contact between the two.

“Maldonado is so crazy, guys,” complained Perez on his radio afterwards. “I want to complain about Maldonado.”

Maldonado then crashed at Casino, clipping the barrier at the inside of the corner then sliding into the wall at the exit. That brought out the red flags, ending the session with three minutes to go.

Pos. No. Driver Car Best lap Gap Laps
1 8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’15.159 25
2 6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’15.197 0.038 21
3 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’15.209 0.050 20
4 5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’15.210 0.051 20
5 10 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1’15.445 0.286 18
6 3 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’15.471 0.312 19
7 4 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1’15.734 0.575 19
8 7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’15.893 0.734 23
9 15 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1’16.110 0.951 14
10 2 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’16.219 1.060 19
11 17 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’16.226 1.067 20
12 9 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1’16.301 1.142 21
13 14 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1’16.311 1.152 19
14 16 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’16.479 1.320 20
15 12 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1’17.027 1.868 20
16 19 Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 1’17.055 1.896 26
17 20 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1’17.276 2.117 25
18 11 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1’17.390 2.231 19
19 21 Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1’17.404 2.245 22
20 24 Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1’18.259 3.100 18
21 18 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1’18.488 3.329 22
22 25 Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1’19.099 3.940 17
23 23 Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1’19.147 3.988 19
24 22 Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1’19.151 3.992 19

Combined practice times

Pos Driver Car FP1 FP2 FP3 Fri/Sat diff Total laps
1 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’17.261 1’17.021 1’15.159 -1.862 58
2 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’16.843 1’16.602 1’15.197 -1.405 61
3 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’17.222 1’17.303 1’15.209 -2.013 55
4 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’16.265 1’16.661 1’15.210 -1.055 65
5 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1’16.630 1’16.138 1’15.445 -0.693 54
6 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’17.190 1’15.746 1’15.471 -0.275 49
7 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1’16.747 1’17.375 1’15.734 -1.013 50
8 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’17.413 1’17.293 1’15.893 -1.4 48
9 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1’16.711 1’18.251 1’16.110 -0.601 57
10 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’18.106 1’17.148 1’16.219 -0.929 56
11 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’18.209 1’18.522 1’16.226 -1.983 67
12 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1’19.267 1’16.301 -2.966 47
13 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1’17.038 1’17.153 1’16.311 -0.727 62
14 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’18.252 1’18.808 1’16.479 -1.773 74
15 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1’16.760 1’16.820 1’18.488 +1.728 62
16 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1’17.631 1’17.800 1’17.027 -0.604 63
17 Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 1’18.617 1’17.655 1’17.055 -0.6 64
18 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1’19.039 1’20.029 1’17.276 -1.763 58
19 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1’18.302 1’17.395 1’17.390 -0.005 56
20 Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1’19.341 1’18.440 1’17.404 -1.036 63
21 Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1’21.638 1’19.309 1’18.259 -1.05 56
22 Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1’20.895 1’20.240 1’19.099 -1.141 56
23 Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1’20.838 1’20.886 1’19.147 -1.691 55
24 Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1’22.423 1’20.631 1’19.151 -1.48 46

2012 Monaco Grand Prix

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88 comments on Rosberg fastest as Maldonado crashes in Monaco

  1. Funkyf1 (@funkyf1) said on 26th May 2012, 11:30

    Slippery session out there, you forgot to mention that Glock also kissed the barrier and even Vettel gave it lick. Is it a grip issue or is everyone just feeling the pressure in this close championship? it’s anyone’s game at the moment.

  2. duncanmonza (@duncanmonza) said on 26th May 2012, 11:33

    Carn Felipe!

  3. Dimitris 1395 (@) said on 26th May 2012, 11:34

    I can see an exclusion from both Qualifying and race for Maldonado. Unexplicably bad driver for the Benezuelan driver…

  4. alexf1man (@alexf1man) said on 26th May 2012, 11:54

    In the second table, it should say Thursday instead of Friday (due to the unique running of this weekend).

  5. Carlo Grlj (@hawkey) said on 26th May 2012, 12:14

    lolz at maldonado.. trying to be someone with no success.. poor guy.. I wasnt expecting nothing more after the win in Spain. So weak :S

  6. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 26th May 2012, 12:16

    Okay, I have now watched the video of the incident between Maldonado and Perez over a dozen times, and I think I have a very reasonable explanation for it being a racing incident. In order to understand how I have come to this conclusion, we need to examine two things: Maldonado’s demeanour, and the physical geography of the Monaco circuit.

    First of all, Maldonado. Yes, he has a track record of deliberately crashing into other drivers. However, in reviewing the incident, the stewards gave Lewis Hamilton a reprimand and Pastor Maldonado a minor grid penalty. I can think of no plausible explanation for this other than the stewards feeling that Maldonado was provoked by Hamilton, and lashed out. High angles of the incident show Hamilton squeezing Maldonado wide out of the Bus Stop and forcing him off the dry racing line. Whether or not Hamilton was within his rights to do this is beside the point – given the rapid improvement of lap times in Q2 at the time, Maldonado evidently felt that he stood a chance at improving his grid position until Hamilton forced him onto the wet circuit. I am not making an attempt to justify Maldonado’s reaction at the time, but simply highlighting that his behavior was triggered by an antecedant: namely, that Hamilton squeezed him wide, and he retaliated. However, in reviewing this incident with Sergio Perez, I can see nothing from Perez that would have set Maldonado off. Perez was visibly slower than Maldonado, and well off the racing line at the time of the collision. He did not, as near as I can tell, block, impede or otherwise obstruct Maldonado. Furthermore, this is free practice; lap times are not important here. Completing a testing programme is. Therefore, Maldonado had no reason to intentionally drive into Perez.

    Secondly, the physical geography of the circuit. Portier has an unusual line with a very late turn-in for the apex. It is also a blind corner, and the racing line carries the drivers out to the far side of the circuit. When he approached Perez, Maldonado visibly accelerates. Significantly, he also appears to be travelling faster than Jenson Button behind him, who was able to take the correct racing line. Therefore, I am prepared to write this off as a racing incident. At the time of the incident, Perez was positioned in such a way that Maldonado would have been unable to properly see the apex of Portier, which is already difficult enough to spot. He accelerates to get around the Sauber, but makes a mistake whilst trying to judge the apex, the position of his car relative to Perez, and compensate for his increased speed at the time. As a result, he turns in too early, probably expecting Perez to slow down further to either let him through or because the Sauber has a problem.

    In the end, I don’t think Pastor Maldonado is guilty of anything more than trying to pass a slower car at a place that doesn’t really allow for it. Between the established pattern of his behavior and the geography of the corner, I simply cannot make any case for this being an intentional act. Maldonado had nothing to gain from crashing into Perez.

  7. DT (@dt) said on 26th May 2012, 12:28

    This is the second time he’s done that and the stewards and his team need to have a good word with him. He’s just been given 10 place grid penalty but i think thats not enough. His behaviour is not acceptable in any sports

  8. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 26th May 2012, 12:35

    Looked rather foolish from Maldonado. I think you can attribute it to a bit of his aggressive flare from last year, his high regard at Monaco and on the back of a win from Barcelona. I imagine he just got over-confident. Just heard he got a ten place penalty which is appropriate.

  9. Have to say, i agree with Coulthard, Perez wheel didnt seem to turn under load through the fast chicane, it was Perez first hotlap since Maldonado hit his front left…

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