Belgian GP - Saturday - Practice Session 3 Report


Sebastian Vettel, Belgian GP 2013

Sebastian Vettel, Belgian GP 2013 

 © Active Pictures

Sebastian Vettel topped Saturday morning’s Free Practice 3 with a time of 1:48.327 in his Red Bull. Fernando Alonso posted the second quickest time – 1:48.432 – in his Ferrari, and Mark Webber rounded out the top three with a lap time of 1:48.533 in his Red Bull.

Jules Bianchi (Marussia) was the first driver out on the track when the green lights went on to signal the start of FP3.

The ambient air temperature at the start of the 60-minute session was 68 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius), and the track temperature was also 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 degrees Celsius) under cloudy but dry skies.

Sergio Perez set the early pace with a 1:50.548 in his McLaren, but Valtteri Bottas beat that with a 1:49.806 in his Williams.

Things remained calm out on the track although Lewis Hamilton did lock up the brakes on his Mercedes and slide off at the final chicane.

At this time everybody was running the hard compound Pirelli slick.

15 minutes into the session, Kimi Raikkonen put his Lotus on top of the times with a 1:49.759. The Mercedes duo of Hamilton and Nico Rosberg also got into the 1:49s but were third and fourth behind Raikkonen and Bottas.

21 minutes into the session, Felipe Massa had a bit of a moment as he slid wide and narrowly avoided the barriers at the exit of Turn 6. Things were going smoother for his teammate Fernando Alonso who moved up to fourth with a 1:49.849.

A couple of minutes later Hamilton had a quick spin at final chicane.

28 minutes into the session, Jean-Eric Vergne popped to the top of the charts with a 1:49.479 in his Toro Rosso running on the hard tires.

Just before the halfway mark things got quiet out on the track as most cars were in the pits.

The top six at that halfway point were: Vergne, Raikkonen, Bottas, Rosberg, Alonso and Hamilton.

The action started to pick up again and more cars, still on the hard tire, were now on the track.

With minutes remaining in the session,

With 17 minutes remaining in the session, Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull) posted the second fastest time: 1:49.756, which was a mere 0.003 faster than Raikkonen’s time.

With 15 minutes remaining in the session, all 22 drivers were in the pits as their crews prepared the cars for qualifying practice runs on the medium compound Pirelli.

With 9 minutes remaining in the session, Adrian Sutil was the first to set a time in the mediums and went to the front with a 1:49.135 in his Force India, but Alonso eclipsed that with a 1:48.432. Ferrari teammate Massa slipped into second with a 1:48.788.

With 4 minutes remaining in the session, Mark Webber turned a 1:48.533 in his Red Bull to takeover second place.

With 2 minutes remaining in the session, Vettel rammed in a 1:48.327 to become king of FP3.

And so the session ended with the top 10 being: Vettel, Alonso, Webber, Vergne, Massa, Jenson Button (McLaren), Esteban Gutierrez (Sauber), Romain Grosjean (Lotus), Rosberg and Raikkonen.

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