Singapore GP - Saturday - Practice Session 3 Report

SV Tops FP3

Sebastian Vettel, Singapore GP2013

Sebastian Vettel, Singapore GP2013 

 © The Cahier Archive

Sebastian Vettel topped Free Practice 3 in his Red Bull, but unlike the practice sessions on Friday, FP3 was not a Red Bull runaway. Vettel was only 0.191 seconds faster than Lotus driver Romain Grosjean.

Nico Rosberg (Mercedes), Mark Webber (Red Bull) and Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) rounded out the top five. They were the only five drivers to get laps times below 1 minute and 45 seconds.

Esteban Gutierrez was the first out on the track in his Sauber.

The ambient air temperature at the start of the 60-minute session was 30 degrees Fahrenheit (86 degrees Celsius), and the track temperature was also 93 degrees Fahrenheit (34 degrees Celsius).

Charles Pic set the first lap time of the session – a leisurely 1:52.954 – in his Caterham.

Adrian Sutil (Force India) soon lowered that to a 1:51.402. And then Pic's teammate Guido van der Garde clocked a 1:50.792. The fast guys remained in the pits.

15 minutes into the session saw about half the field out on the track. Everybody was running Pirelli's white side-walled medium compound slick

Paul di Resta was the first to break the 1:50 barrier when he turned a 1:49.572 in his Force India.

18 minutes into the session, the Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull drivers remained in the pits as Pastor Maldonado set a 1:48.592 in his Williams. Then Daniel Ricciardo, who had complained of brake problems earlier, beat that with a 1:48.001 in his Toro Rosso as Kimi Raikkonen slotted into second after clocking a 1:48.393 in his Lotus.

Then Nico Hulkenberg (Sauber) and Bottas (Williams) beat Raikkonen's time but couldn't top Ricciardo.

24 minutes into the session, Vettel and Massa finally ventured out but Alonso and Webber stayed put in the pits. The Romain Grosjean did a 1:46.883 in his Lotus. Mercedes teammates Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg moved into second and third.

31 minutes into the session, Hamilton moved on top with a 1:46.514.

The top six halfway through FP3 were: Hamilton, Grosjean, Rosberg, Vettel and McLaren teammates Jenson Button and Sergio Perez.

But that order did not remain so for long as Webber turned a 1:46.220.

With 25 minutes remaining in the session, Hamilton improved his time to a 1:46.445 and therefore remained in second place.

The drivers were still running the medium compound tires and doing long runs. In the race the plan would be to use the mediums for one short stint and the super softs for two stints. But the teams needed to know just how many laps the mediums would last. On Friday the scope had been anywhere from less than a lap to 25 laps.

With 22 minutes remaining in the session, Vettel moved into second with a time of 1:46.299.

With 17 minutes remaining in the session, the pits started to fill up as the teams prepared the cars for qualifying simulation runs on the super soft Pirellis.

With 14 minutes remaining in the session, only four drivers were on the track" Jean-Eric Vergne (Toro Rosso) and Marussia teammates Jules Bianchi and Max Chilton.

With 10 minutes remaining in the session, Grosjean and Rosberg got things rolling on the qualifying simulation front. Other drivers soon joined the party.

With 6 minutes remaining in the session, Grosjean moved ahead with a 1:44.364. Vettel crossed the line to record a 1:44.173. Others tried but failed to beat that time. So Grosjean was second, Rosberg third, Webber fourth and Hamilton fifth. They were the only drivers below the 1:45 mark.

Alonso, Perez, Hulkenberg, Button and Felipe Massa (Ferrari) rounded out the top 10.


Follow grandprixdotcom on Twitter