Heikki crashes in final practice

Heikki Kovalainen became the first major scalp of Monaco’s notorious armco barriers after he lost control of his McLaren in tricky conditions during Saturday warm-up.

The accolade of quickest lap time was of little consolation to the Finn who crashed into the barriers on the exit of the swimming pool moments after topping the time sheets.

“I made a small error and went too fast and hit the wall,” said Kovalainen. “It was my mistake.”

The drivers had to contend with slippery conditions and the rain became heavier as the session went on. Although the official track status was ‘wet’, the first five minutes of the session were rain-free before the heavens opened moments later. All the drivers struggled with the lack of grip particularly in the second and third sectors.

Massa, Rosberg, and Hamilton all held the top spot in the first quarter of the session before Heikki Kovalainen went quickest with a lap time of 1m 16.567.

The conditions progressively got worse and after Kovalainen’s crash half-way through the session the drivers were unable to improve their times.

Lewis Hamilton ended the session second quickest with Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen a further tenth behind.

Felipe Massa, who has been quick to make clear his dislike of the Monaco street circuit, wound up sixth fastest behind Robert Kubica and Nico Rosberg.

Mark Webber lapped seventh fastest showing signs of improvement for Red Bull while two times Monaco winner David Coulthard, languished down in last place.

Adrian Sutil, who went quickest in practice last year in similar conditions, was an impressive eighth fastest ahead of Kazuki Nakajima and Jenson Button who rounded out the top ten.

Sebastien Bourdais in the new Toro Rosso lapped eleventh quickest ahead of Glock, Barrichello and his team-mate Sebastian Vettel.

The Renaults of Fernando Alonso and Nelson Piquet, who lost valuable track time on Thursday after crashing at St. Devote in almost identical fashion, had another disappointing session ending up fourteenth and sixteenth respectively.

Giancarlo Fisichella, celebrating his 200th Grand Prix, was unable to build on his Thursday pace and ended the rain-hit session in nineteenth behind Jarno Trulli and Nick Heidfeld.