German GP - Saturday - Practice Session 3 Report

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Sebastian Vettel, German GP 2013

Sebastian Vettel, German GP 2013 

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Germany’s Sebastian Vettel and Nico Rosberg posted the best lap times in Saturday morning’s Free Practice 3 and their home Grand Prix of Germany.

The ambient air temperature at the start of the session was 71.6 degrees Fahrenheit (22 degrees Celsius), and the track temperature was degrees 91.4 Fahrenheit (33 degrees Celsius).

Paul di Resta (Force India) and Nico Hulkenberg (Sauber) lined up side-by-side at pit exit for practice starts as the first out of the pits as the 60-minute session began.

The Williams team had had a bit of a scare on Saturday morning.

“At 08.30 this morning the Williams F1 Team suffered a KERS failure on Pastor Maldonado’s car,” the team said in a statement. “The car was in the garage at the time. The resulting smoke was contained quickly and efficiently by the team and circuit fire marshals. No personnel were injured.

“The team are currently investigating the cause of the failure, and assessing any further damage to Pastor’s car. More information will be released once the team are in a position to do so.”

The problem was fixed by the time FP3 began at 11 a.m. and both Maldonado and his teammate Valtteri Bottas were out on the track in the opening minutes.

With their install lap completed, the drivers head back to the pits for checks on their cars.

Sergio Perez posted the first lap time – 1:34.382 – in his McLaren and then lowered that to a 1:33.684. Then his teammate Jenson Button beat that with a 1:32.704 only to have Nico Rosberg (Mercedes) top that with a 1:31.911.

Rosberg improved to a 1:31.574. Teammate Lewis Hamilton, who was complaining about oversteer while ironically Rosberg said he had too much understeer, soon moved into second place with a time of 1:32.118.

The drivers were using Pirelli’s medium compound slick at this stage of FP3.

20 minutes into the session, Sebastian Vettel topped the times with a 1:31.365 in his Red Bull. Rosberg was now second while Mark Webber, who turned a 1:31.792 in his Red Bull, was third.

23 minutes into the session, Webber took over second with a 1:31.298 while Vettel improved to a 1:31.294. So just .004 of a second separated the Red Bull boys at this stage.

Romain Grosjean was fourth after setting a 1:32.028 in his Lotus.

23 minutes into the session, Maldonado slid off the track at Turn 7 and continued. He radioed that he car’s handling was awful.

25 minutes into the session, Ferrari teammates Felipe Massa and Fernando were on track having completed just two laps each so far.

The top six at the midpoint of FP3 were: Vettel, Webber, Rosberg, Grosjean, Hamilton and Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus). Hulkenberg, Alonso, Daniel Ricciardo (Toro Rosso) and Button rounded out the top 10.

With 28 minutes remaining in the session, Alonso moved into sixth with a 1:32.228. Massa would soon slot into the eighth spot.

With 22 minutes remaining in the session, the McLaren teammates were out of the top 10 and nearly 1.5 seconds off the pace with Button 11th and Sergio Perez 14th.

With 15 minutes remaining in the session, Grosjean had a brief off in his Lotus.

Vettel and Webber were on track, with the medium tires, and doing longer runs and thus not improving on the best lap times they set earlier.

With 12 minutes remaining in the session, everybody was in the pits getting ready for qualifying runs practice.

Alonso was the first to venture out on the soft Pirelli slicks with the yellow sidewalls. Then Massa headed out.

Alonso’s best on the medium tires was a 1:32.228. On the softs he clocked a 1:30.621 to take over the top spot. Massa moved to second with a 1:30.639.

More and more drivers were now lapping with the soft tires

With 7 minutes remaining in the session, Rosberg was quickest with a 1:30.193. Teammate Hamilton could only manage fourth with a 1:30.744.

With 5 minutes remaining in the session, Rosberg was still on top ahead of Alonso, Massa, Hamilton and Hulkenberg.

With 4 minutes remaining in the session, Webber set a 1:30.211 to take over second. And Vettel who had been in the pits finally headed out for one final flying lap. All 22 drivers were on the track with 3 minutes to go.

Vettel was indeed flying as he posted a 1:29.517.

And that wrapped up FP3 with Germany’s Vettel and Rosberg claiming the top two times ahead of Webber, Alonso, Massa, Raikkonen, Hamilton, Grosjean, Hulkenberg and Germany’s Adrian Sutil.


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