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Famed for its Casino, it is only right that the Monaco Grand Prix promises to be as much of a lottery as its 2012 predecessors.
Thus far, after three practice sessions it's fair to say that none of us are any the wiser as to who's hot and who's not, a fact not helped by the changeable weather conditions on Thursday afternoon and the early conclusion to this morning's session following Pastor Maldonado's accident.
While the supersoft (option) tyres are as quick as expected, some drivers claim they are 'dropping off' after just two laps, while the track surface, especially those parts that have been re-surfaced, is proving almost impossible to get to grips with. Throw in some silliness, not forgetting the traditional problems with traffic on these tight twisty street, and you have a scenario at which only the bravest - or stupidest - would dare attempt to bet.
It's fair to say that the Lotus are looking good here, while this morning the Ferraris were equally impressive, especially Massa. McLaren and Red Bull have yet to truly show their hand but it has to be said Vettel appears to be struggling.
If ever there was a circuit where a good grid position is vital, this is it, so today, we can expect some real balls-out performances and bravery.
The lottery of qualifying aside, it came as no surprise when, twenty minutes before the session is due to begin, Maldonado is hit with 10-place grid penalty for this morning's incident in which he 'carved up' Perez. The damage the Venezuelan subsequently causing the crash which brought out the red flags. It was a stupid thing to do, and, coming just two weeks after his sensational weekend in Spain, is one of the best ever examples of hero to zero.
Not forgetting that Schumacher has a five-place penalty for his clash with Senna in Spain.
Five minutes before the start of Q1, the air temperature is 23 degrees C, while the track temperature is 39 degrees.
The lights go green and Pic leads the way, followed by Vergne. Alonso and Rosberg are amongst the early risers.
Pic gets the game underway, crossing the line at 22.752 however, his final sector is ruined by de la Rosa who clearly isn't using his mirrors. One would expect better from the Spanish veteran.
Unsurprisingly, Alonso goes quickest (17.128), ahead of Maldonado, hover, moments later Vergne goes second with a 17.817.
Out come the red flags as Perez clouts the barriers at the entry to the Swimming Pool, damaging his front wing and ripping off his left-rear wheel in the process.
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