MONACO (AP) — German driver Nico Rosberg posted the fastest time in the crash-marred third practice session of the Monaco Grand Prix on Saturday.
The Mercedes driver, who was fastest in both practice runs on Thursday, is aiming for a third straight pole position and will be confident heading into the afternoon's qualifying.
Monaco's razor-thin, sinewy street circuit again proved hard to handle and Ferrari driver Felipe Massa was fortunate to walk away unharmed after a heavy crash.
Lotus driver Romain Grosjean posted the second fastest time before crashing near the end, losing control as he came too fast into turn one, hitting the barriers and bouncing across the track. Earlier, Adrian Sutil lost control of his Force India and zigzagged across the track into the barriers
Three-time defending champion Sebastian Vettel was third quickest for Red Bull ahead of Ferrari's Fernando Alonso.
The session was interrupted by a red flag after Massa's crash.
The Brazilian slipped wide to the left and into the barriers, his left front wheel almost coming clean off as smoke billowed out of the back of his Ferrari, and then flew nose-first into a crash barrier. He handed his steering wheel to a marshal as he climbed out of the cockpit, giving the thumbs up to show he was unharmed. But his mechanics face a race against time to get the car ready for qualifying.
After a crane had lifted Massa's Ferrari off the track, practice resumed a few minutes later —but it almost immediately came to halt as Sutil lost control. Like Grosjean's crash, it also seemed to be a driving error.
Former champion Kimi Raikkonen had a narrow escape when his rear wheels locked up and he managed to stop his Lotus just in front of the wall.
Raikkonen is four points behind Vettel overall and can move to the top of the standings if he wins in Monaco. But the Finn has struggled for speed in qualifying, and Monaco is the hardest track in F1 for overtaking with only two drivers winning from outside of pole in the past 10 years.
Red Bull has won the last three Monaco GPs, with Vettel's win in 2011 sandwiched in between Mark Webber's two victories.