Malaysian GP - Saturday - Practice Session 3 Report
The works Mercedes drivers were first and second fastest in Free Practice 3 for the Malaysian Grand Prix. Nico Rosberg topped the times with teammate Lewis Hamilton 0.232 seconds adrift. Rosberg was a whopping 1.148 seconds quicker than Kimi Raikkonen who wound up third in his Ferrari.
The ambient temperature at the start of the 60-minute session was 88 degrees Fahrenheit (31 degrees Centigrade) and the track temperature was 120 degrees Fahrenheit (49 degrees Centigrade.)
Marcus Ericsson was the first out in his Caterham when the green lights came on to open pit exit and let the cars out on the track. It was business as usual as the drivers did an installation lap and headed back to the garages. Both Lotus drivers Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado managed to complete a lap.
The only ones not to immediately do a lap were Red Bull teammates Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo, but 7 minutes into the session they were both on track.
11 minutes into the session, Maldonado completed the first flying lap and set a time of 1:49.882, and he then improved that to a 1:45.211 while Ericsson clocked a 1:47.302.
The drivers were running on Pirelli's hard compound slicks with the orange sidewalls.
15 minutes into the session, Felipe Massa topped the charts with a time of 1:42.855 in his Williams as more and more drivers took to the track.
Kimi Raikkonen was getting his Ferrari wound up to speed, and 18 minutes into the session he set a 1:41.835. Things were not going as well for Kevin Magnussen who reported that his McLaren had no power. Fernando Alonso, meanwhile, moved his Ferrari into second with a 1:42.293.
The Red Bull duo had done two laps each and they were back in the garage without setting a lap time.
20 minutes into the session, Lewis Hamilton took over first with a lap of 1:41.246 in his Mercedes only to have his teammate Nico Rosberg beat that with a 1:40.946. Valterri Bottas moved his Williams into fourth place behind Raikkonen with a 1:42.158.
26 minutes into the session, Hamilton rammed in a lap at 1:40.552 after sliding off the track the lap before.
Midway through FP3 the top six were: Hamilton, Rosberg, Raikkonen, Bottas, Alonso and Nico Hulkenberg (Force India.) Seconds later Vettel set his first lap time at 1:42.496 to take over sixth, and then dropped to seventh as Ricciardo slotted his car into third with a 1:42.072. Vettel improved to a 1:42.309 on his next tour.
With 20 minutes remaining in the session, Alonso, with the medium compound slicks on his Ferrari, moved into second with a time of 1:40.736. Then Raikkonen, on mediums, took the lead with a 1:40.156.
Rosberg, on mediums, then slammed in a 1:39.008.
With 14 minutes remaining in the session, Hamilton clocked a 1:39.240 on mediums to give Mercedes a one/two and Ferrari a three/four and Red Bull a five/six in the timing order.
With 10 minutes remaining in the session, the McLaren drivers Jenson Button and Magnussen had done four laps each and not set a time.
With 5 minutes remaining in the session, Ricciardo improved to 1:40.686 on a fresh set of mediums. Hulkenberg was up to fourth with a 1:40.523.
With 2 minutes remaining in the session, Vettel took fourth with a 1:40.387 while Grosjean slid off the track at Turn 11.
With 1 minute remaining in the session, Grosjean radioed in that the "rear end is a disaster" and that there was no power.
The top 10 at the end of FP3 were: Rosberg, Hamilton, Raikkonen, Vettel, Hulkenberg, Ricciardo, Alonso, Massa, Bottas and Sergio Perez (Force India.)