Spanish GP - Saturday - Practice Session 3 Report

Massa Pips Raikkonen

Felipe Massa, Spanish GP 2013

Felipe Massa, Spanish GP 2013 

 © The Cahier Archive

Felipe Massa just pipped Kimi Raikkonen to claim the fastest lap honors in Saturday's Free Practice 3 in Spain. He posted the fastest time in his Ferrari but was only .006 of a second quicker than Raikkonen in the Lotus. Mark Webber (Red Bull) and Romain Grosjean (Lotus) rounded out the top four.

Daniel Ricciardo gunned his Toro Rosso out of pitlane as the 60 minute session began. Paul di Resta (Force India) followed him out.

The ambient air temperature at the start of the session was 64.4 degrees Fahrenheit (18 degrees Celsius), and the track temperature was 71.6 degrees Fahrenheit (22 degrees Celsius.)

Sebastian Vettel had green air-flow paint spread over the front wing and sides of his Red Bull on his first lap. The teams were continuing to evaluate the aerodynamic upgrades they bought to Spain.

After their installation laps all the drivers headed for the garages to have their cars checked over. Nico Rosberg posted the first time – 1:29.468 – but his Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton immediately topped that with a 1:28.350.

8 minutes into the session, Charles Pic took top honors with a time of 1:25.635 in his Caterham while his teammate Guido van der Garde moved into second with a 1:25.917. At this stage, only the Mercedes and Caterham teammates, plus Esteban Gutierrez (Sauber) were turning laps. All were on Pirelli's hard compound slick tires.

10 minutes into the session, minutes into the session, Gutierrez picked off Pic with a lap in 1:25.013. More drivers started trickling out onto the track including Vettel, on the hard tires, who immediately lowered the benchmark to 1:23.920.

20 minutes into the session, Kimi Raikkonen was flying in is Lotus and posted a 1:23.152 running the hard compound tires. Vettel then lowered his time to a 1:23.358, but it was Romain Grosjean (Lotus) who was now on top with a 1:23.042.

24 minutes into the session, Fernando Alonso (Ferrari) delighted the Spanish fans by going fastest with a 1:23.006.

28 minutes into the session, 16 of the 22 drivers were in the pits preparing for their next runs.

Midway through the session the top six were: Alonso, Grosjean, Raikkonen, Felipe Massa (Ferrari), Vettel and Mark Webber (Red Bull.)

Sergio Perez had turned only 4 laps at this stage and was telling the McLaren pit that something was wrong with his front suspension. Replays showed he had broken parts off the front wing when he ran over the curbs on the exit of the final corner.

With 23 minutes remaining in the session, Grosjean did a practice start at pit exit and headed out for his next run on the hard tires. Massa, Webber and Vettel were also soon on track.

With19 minutes remaining in the session, Nico Rosberg left the pits with the medium compound Pirelli slick with the white sidewall fitted to his Mercedes. Alonso did the same in the Ferrari.

With 16 minutes remaining in the session, Alonso improved to a 1:22.254 and Rosberg went second fastest with a 1:22.915. But Rosberg's teammate Lewis Hamilton then beat that with a 1:22.829.

With 13 minutes remaining in the session, only four drivers were on track. Most of the rest were getting ready for qualifying run simulations on the final minutes. Hamilton, meanwhile, improved his time to a 1:22.740 and Rosberg to a 1:22.839.

With 9 minutes remaining in the session, Raikkonen was out on the medium tires and headed to the top of the timing screens with a 1:21.907.

With 7 minutes remaining in the session, things were getting busy on the track with more and more drivers heading out on the medium tires.

With 6 minutes remaining in the session, Webber took over second with a 1:22.044.

With 5 minutes remaining in the session, Grosjean was the only driver not on the track, and Massa took the lead with a 1:21.901.

With 3 minutes remaining in the session, Vettel's fast lap attempt only netted him fourth with a 1:22.229. Then Grosjean took over fourth with a 1:22.069.

Nobody could beat Massa in the final minutes so he ended up with the best time in FP3. Raikkonen, Webber, Grosjean, Vettel, Alonso, di Resta, Adrian Sutil (Force India), Hamilton and Jean-Eric Vergne (Toro Rosso) rounded out the top 10.

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