• Monaco GP - FP3

Hamilton fastest as Ricciardo splits Mercedes

Laurence Edmondson in Monte Carlo
May 24, 2014
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Lewis Hamilton topped the third and final practice session for the Monaco Grand Prix as Daniel Ricciardo split the two Mercedes and got within 0.050s of Hamilton's best effort.

It was the first time the supersoft tyres were run in anger on a completely dry track and Hamilton's 1:16.758 easily eclipsed Fernando Alonso's best effort on Thursday. Nico Rosberg was third fastest but was baulked by a Caterham in the final sector of his hot lap after promising times in the first two sectors.

Sebastian Vettel managed fourth fastest nearly 0.4s off his team-mate's best, with the Ferraris of Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen split by just 0.020s in fifth and sixth. Raikkonen was stuck in traffic for some of his super-soft tyre run, jabbing away at the throttle in frustration through the Nouvelle Chicane on one lap, before finally finding a gap of clear air to attack at the end.

From fifth place to 14th the cars were placed two-by-two with the Force Indias of Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg in seventh and eighth, the Toro Rossos of Jean-Eric Vergne and Daniil Kvyat in ninth and tenth, the McLarens of Kevin Magnussen and Jenson Button in 11th and 12th and the Williams of Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa in 13th and 14th. Despite that Alonso in fifth and Massa in 14th were split by just over a second, indicating just how tight the battle for a place in the top ten in qualifying will be.

Romain Grosjean was only a tenth clear of the Marussia of Jules Bianchi in 16th and 17th, with Pastor Maldonado, who had to take to the Nouvelle Chicane escape road late in the session behind Bianchi in 18th place. Esteban Gutierrez was also a little off the pace in 19th, but with traffic playing such a key role in a setting a good time and the Lotuses going to supers-softs early there could be a shuffling in the pack come qualifying.

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