Canadian GP - Saturday - Practice Session 3 Report

Slick Switch

Mark Webber, Canadian GP 2013

Mark Webber, Canadian GP 2013 

 © The Cahier Archive

The track was only dry enough for the drivers to switch from rain tires to slicks in about the last five minutes of Free Practice 3 on Saturday morning.

The final three minutes were incredibly hectic with all 22 drivers on the track and the lap times tumbling. Felipe Massa set the fastest time at 1:22.482. The top spot then changed 10 times – with Kimi Raikkonen, Pastor Maldonado, Jenson Button, Fernando Alonso, Massa, Paul di Resta, Sebastian Vettel, Lewis Hamilton and Adrian Sutil all being at the top of the timing screens momentarily before Mark Webber finally claimed it for good with a time of 1:17.895 in his Red Bull.

Barrier repairs at Turn 11 caused the start of the one-hour FP3 to be delayed by 30 minutes, and the session was shortened to 30 minutes. It was the same for everybody of course, but this meant that the teams had to cram all their qualifying and race preparation into half an hour.

The ambient air and track temperatures at the start of the session were 59 degrees Fahrenheit (15 degrees Celsius.) The humidity was 89 percent.

Caterham drivers Charles Pic and Guido van der Garde led the line of cars out of the pits. The track was still wet from rain earlier in the morning, so everybody was on Pirelli's intermediate or extreme rain tires. Van der Garde clocked a 1:30.873, but Sergio Perez beat that with a 1:27.984 in his McLaren. That didn't last long as Adrian Sutil turned a 1:27.882 in his Force India only to be beaten by several drivers including Jenson Button who set a 1:26.340 in his McLaren.

Seven minutes into the session, Nico Hulkenberg climbed to the top of the times with a 1:25.678 in his Sauber, and then Valtteri Bottas did a 1:25.126 in his Williams. He lowered that to a 1:24.314, and Hulkenberg improved to a 1:24.546 and then a 1:24.150.

The slippery conditions caused the drivers to bounce off the track, and as on Friday, the final chicane, Turn 14, was a favorite spot for an excursion. The Caterham teammates had five offs in the first 12 minutes at Turns 3, 9 and 14.

Just before the midpoint of the session, Felipe Massa clocked a 1:23.492 in his Ferrari.

At the midpoint of the session, only 12 drivers had set lap times. The rest had done a couple of installation laps and were waiting for the track to dry rather than risk damaging their cars.

And the track was drying, but not enough for the drivers to switch to slicks. Esteban Gutierrez proved the point by going to the top of the screens with a 1:23.112 in his Sauber in the intermediate tires.

With 8 minutes into the session, the top six were: Gutierrez, Massa, Hulkenberg, Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus), Bottas and Pastor Maldonado (Williams.) Only 14 drivers had set lap times.

A minute later, Perez became the first driver to head out on Pirelli's medium compound slicks. And Fernando Alonso had the super soft compound slicks on his Ferrari. Soon others switched to slicks.

In the last three minutes, Massa went quickest. Then Raikkonen, Maldonado, Button, Alonso, Massa, di Resta, Vettel, Hamilton, Sutil and finally Webber.

Among those to go off on those final three minutes were Hamilton, Perez, Daniel Ricciardo and Maldonado.


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