British GP - Saturday - Practice Session 3 Report
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Mercedes drivers Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton beat out Red Bull teammates Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber in Free Practice 3 for the British Grand Prix.
Sauber drivers Nico Hulkenberg and Esteban Gutierrez sandwiched Felipe Massa's Ferrari as the first three out of the pitlane as the 60 minute session began.
The ambient air temperature at the start of the session was 60.8 degrees Fahrenheit (16 degrees Celsius), and the track temperature was 66.2 degrees Fahrenheit (19 degrees Celsius.)
Kimi Raikkonen set the first flying lap time with a 1:34.367 in his Lotus. A couple of minutes later Lewis Hamilton was on the radio to the Mercedes pit saying his car already had a big vibration. Raikkonen lowered the best lap to 1:34.184 and headed for the pits.
While the mechanics were making changes to Raikkonen's Lotus Sergio Perez was on track posting a 1:34.154 in his McLaren. He then turned a 1:33.607 only to have Valtteri Bottas set a 1:33.603 in his Williams.
13 minutes into the session, Perez had the tread fly off on the left rear tire of his McLaren and drove slowly to the pits. "The tire exploded," he radioed.
There was rubber debris on the circuit so the session was red flagged when it was 14 minutes old.
Workers cleared away the debris and the session went green again at 20 minutes past the hour. The cars streamed out on to the track as the action resumed.
Mark Webber soon set the mark with a time of 1:32.560 in his Red Bull. Toro Rosso teammates Jean-Eric Vergne and Daniel Ricciardo were second and fourth with times of 1:32.580 and 1:33.047. Paul di Resta was third with a 1:32.935 in his Force India.
Webber went quicker with a 1:32.369, but Hamilton slammed in a 1:32.317 with 25 minutes left in the session. Ricciardo had meanwhile improved to third with a 1:32.475.
Bottas, meanwhile, had a brief off track excursion in his Williams.
With just under 20 minutes remaining, Webber went fastest with a 1:32.078 which beat out Hamilton's improved time of 1:32.140.
That didn't last long. Mercedes teammates Hamilton and Rosberg took over the top spots with times of 1:31.750 and 1:31.833
With 12 minutes to go, everybody except Raikkonen, who was sixth fastest and then moved up to fifth, was in the pits. It was time to set the cars up with low fuel for qualifying runs on Pirelli's medium compound slick.
Perez, with the damage the flailing rear tire had caused to his McLaren repaired, headed out with eight minutes remaining. Others soon joined him.
With 5 minutes remaining, only Felipe Massa (Ferrari) was not on the track. Perez spun and got going again at Turn 14.
Vettel moved up to third with a 1:32.037 as Hamilton had a brief off track excursion. Webber was now fourth with a 1:32.078.
As the checkered flag came out, Rosberg improved to a 1:31.487 to take the top spot. And Hamilton improved to a 1:31.633. Vettel remained third and Webber fourth. Romain Grosjean (Lotus), Ricciardo, Fernando Alonso (Ferrari), Raikkonen and Force India teammates Adrian Sutil and Paul di Resta rounded out the top 10.