Monaco Practice 3: Hamilton back on top, Red Bulls close

Lewis Hamilton fastest in FP2
Lewis Hamilton fastest in FP2

Lewis Hamilton bounced back to the top of the timing screens as Formula 1 action resumed in Monte Carlo after a one day hiatus, but it appears that Red Bull are very much in contention around the twists of the principality on the Cote D’Azure.

Under a bright blue sky, on a glorious day in Monte Carlo, Hamilton powered the Mercedes around the streets in a best time of 1:16.758, with Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo next best, at a mere 0.050 of a second down on the the Briton.

Hamilton leads Rosberg, his main title rival, by three points after four successive one-two finishes in the last five races.

Hamilton has never qualified on pole position before at Monaco, although he won the race in 2008 with McLaren on his way to the title, but looks favourite to do so in later Qualifying.

Nico Rosberg was third in the other Mercedes, and Sebastian Vettel fourth fastest in the Red Bull – less than half a second separating the top four at the top of the timing screens – like the track: things are tight at the top!

Daniel Ricciardo second fastest
Daniel Ricciardo second fastest

Behind the top four a clear pecking order emerged.

Ferrari duo Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen ended the hour long session fifth and sixth respectively, the Maranello outfit performing above pre-race expectations in the practice sessions.

Up next were Force India drivers Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg in seventh and eighth, followed by Toro Rosso duo Jean Eric Vergne and Daniil Kvyat, the McLaren pair Kevin Magnussen and Jenson Button, Williams’ Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa.

At the sharp end Mercedes were almost a second quicker than their closest rivals on the harder yellow band Pirelli tyres, but the gap on the red band Super-soft compound shrunk to about 0.100 of a second.

A slight slip up by the Silver Arrows during Qualifying may tilt the advantage to Red Bull and give the world champions their first pole position of the season. (GP247)

Subbed by AJN.

Monaco Grand Prix, Free Practice 3 – Saturday, 24 May 2014
144Lewis HamiltonMercedes1:16.758  
23Daniel RicciardoRed Bull Racing-Renault1:16.8080.050 
36Nico RosbergMercedes1:16.8740.116 
41Sebastian VettelRed Bull Racing-Renault1:17.1840.426 
514Fernando AlonsoFerrari1:17.4280.670 
67Kimi RäikkönenFerrari1:17.4480.690 
711Sergio PerezForce India-Mercedes1:17.7250.967 
827Nico HulkenbergForce India-Mercedes1:18.0741.316 
925Jean-Eric VergneSTR-Renault1:18.1361.378 
1026Daniil KvyatSTR-Renault1:18.1661.408 
1120Kevin MagnussenMcLaren-Mercedes1:18.2491.491 
1222Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Mercedes1:18.2621.504 
1377Valtteri BottasWilliams-Mercedes1:18.4301.672 
1419Felipe MassaWilliams-Mercedes1:18.5421.784 
1599Adrian SutilSauber-Ferrari1:18.5981.840 
168Romain GrosjeanLotus-Renault1:18.7762.018 
1717Jules BianchiMarussia-Ferrari1:18.8722.114 
1813Pastor MaldonadoLotus-Renault1:19.1182.360 
1921Esteban GutierrezSauber-Ferrari1:19.1492.391 
2010Kamui KobayashiCaterham-Renault1:20.2713.513 
214Max ChiltonMarussia-Ferrari1:20.3943.636 
229Marcus EricssonCaterham-Renault1:20.5893.831