Yes, you read that title correctly: Spyker's Adrian Sutil was the fastest man in the last practice for the Monaco Grand Prix, setting a best time of 1:36.612. In rainy conditions it was a fairly random session but Sutil got it right at the right...
Yes, you read that title correctly: Spyker's Adrian Sutil was the fastest man in the last practice for the Monaco Grand Prix, setting a best time of 1:36.612. In rainy conditions it was a fairly random session but Sutil got it right at the right time. Kimi Raikkonen's Ferrari was second, just over a tenth off, and the McLaren of Lewis Hamilton was third.
The track was officially declared wet at the start of the session and the Toyotas of Ralf Schumacher and Jarno Trulli and the Toro Rossos of Tonio Liuzzi and Scott Speed were among the first to try the conditions. Quite a few cars were quickly out, the Spykers of Christijan Albers and Sutil, the BMW Saubers of Nick Heidfeld and Robert Kubica and the Super Aguris of Anthony Davidson and Takuma Sato.
The McLarens of Fernando Alonso and Hamilton also put in an early appearance and within the first five minutes all bar the Ferraris had done an installation lap. Speed and Liuzzi stayed out for another circuit, as did Jenson Button's Honda, but the track went quiet again as quickly as it had been busy. There was a wait of six or seven minutes before Heidfeld ventured back out but he only did one lap.
Davidson was next and he didn't linger either. Obviously the track would be green after the day's break on Friday but the rain is more of a factor at Monaco than most other circuits, as the road surface provides less grip than a race track. Not ideal when the barriers are waiting. After 20 minutes there were still no times and Liuzzi had managed the most laps, all of four. There was still no sign of the Ferraris.
A further five minutes later Trulli was the first to wake up the clock, a tentative time over two minutes but Schumacher followed in his wake and posted 1:52.199. Practice times were in the 1:16, 1:17 area. Schumacher lowered his time by a few seconds then Mark Webber's Red Bull arrived with a 1:48.611. Davidson slotted into third then improved to the top, 1:45.542, while Raikkonen finally put a Ferrari on track.
Heidfeld took the third spot and Alonso fourth, and Davidson was still lapping, his next a 1:44.400 which demoted Webber, who had sneaked back in, from the top again. Alonso went up one place and Raikkonen took fifth, while Webber improved to just six hundredths off Davidson. Raikkonen demoted the pair with a 1:42.357 and Heidfeld followed into second, 1.4 down. He quickly fell to Liuzzi, the gap just over a second.
Hamilton took seventh and Sutil sixth, while Albers managed 10th and the Honda of Rubens Barrichello 13th. Felipe Massa's Ferrari took the sixth spot when he arrived and Liuzzi went to the top, 1:41.108, with Hamilton just over a second behind. Barrichello jumped up to fourth and Sutil to second, then Raikkonen returned to the top with a 1:39.224. Nico Rosberg's Williams took third, while teammate Alex Wurz was 11th.
Massa moved into second, two and a half tenths off Raikkonen, and Button took fourth. Giancarlo Fisichella's Renault started with 10th but was swiftly demoted by Albers then Schumacher in quick succession. Hamilton moved into second, just six hundredths off Raikkonen, while Wurz and Fisichella improved to sixth and seventh respectively. Raikkonen lowered his time to 1:37.773.
Massa retaliated to take second back off Hamilton but then lost it to Rosberg and the BMW Sauber of Robert Kubica jumped up to eighth from the midfield. Massa and Rosberg were trading second and Sato was the next to rocket up the times from near the back, seventh for the Super Aguri. Button took over at the top, 1:37.507, and Schumacher returned to the top 10 in eighth. Sato was still out there, his next good enough for fifth.
Speed also made a good improvement, up to take the fifth spot off Sato then in turn lost it to Kubica. With 10 minutes to go only the Red Bull of David Coulthard had yet to set a time. Davidson, who had been shuffled down the order to near the back, went up to 10th and Speed improved again to second, a tenth and a half off Button. Alonso, also demoted to near the back, climbed to seventh and Fisichella did likewise to sixth.
Alonso went round again and claimed the second slot, a tenth down on the lead Honda, while Heikki Kovalainen's Renault improved to ninth from the midfield. In the final five minutes Alonso popped in a 1:37.020 to take over the top. Barrichello went back up to ninth and Kovalainen to second then Fisichella overtook Alonso with a 1:36.784 as the last minute and a half was ticking away.
There were a few final improvements -- a dry line had started to appear -- with Speed up to second then Sutil to the top, 1:36.612. Yes, really! Even Raikkonen couldn't outdo the Spyker, just over a tenth off, nor Hamilton, fractionally behind the Ferrari. It may not be representative but Sutil and Spyker can savour their moment of glory for getting a good lap just at the right time.
There's absolutely no point speculating on this afternoon, the conditions were too difficult to get any kind of picture of who's doing what. However, it's no surprise that Ferrari and McLaren were pretty much front runners in the session, with Renault not far behind. Final top eight classification: Sutil, Raikkonen, Hamilton, Fisichella, Speed, Alonso, Kovalainen, Rosberg.