Spanish GP - Saturday - Practice Session 3 Report
In the Spots
The Mercedes cars dominated Free Practice 3, naturally, with Nico Rosberg first and Lewis Hamilton second. So the real question would be who would be in the third and fourth spots. The answer: Fernando Alonso (Ferrari) and Felipe Massa (Williams.)
The ambient temperature at the start of the session was degrees 72 Fahrenheit (22 degrees Centigrade) and the track temperature was 73 degrees Fahrenheit (23 degrees Centigrade.)
Everybody promptly headed out for their installation laps including Sebastian Vettel who had missed virtually all of practice on Friday because of a wiring problem on his Red Bull.
Caterham was operating without its technical director Mark Smith who the team had fired.
A new Technical Committee has been formed to oversee all technical and operational aspects of Caterham's activities on and off track. Smith's role will not be directly replaced. Instead, John Iley, Jody Egginton and Gerry Hughes will now each take responsibility for specific areas of the team's operational activities as the newly created Technical Committee, reporting directly to Team Principal Cyril Abiteboul.
13 minutes into the session, Kevin Magnussen clocked the first time ‚Äì a 1:28.771 ‚Äì in his McLaren. His father Jan watched from the McLaren garage.
Vettel was out there, turning laps to get some miles on the car and get himself and the machine tuned in after his disastrous Friday.
16 minutes into the session, Pastor Maldonado had a minor off at Turn 1 in his Lotus.
The drivers were on Pirelli's hard compound slicks for the first part of FP3, and they would switch to the medium tires later on for qualifying simulations.
17 minutes into the session, Kimi Raikkonen moved his Ferrari into the top spot with a time of 1:28.595. That lasted a few minutes and then his teammate Fernando Alonso topped that with a 1:28.152.
Meanwhile, Romain Grosjean radioed in that his Lotus was weaving under braking.
24 minutes into the session, Nico Rosberg posted a time of 1:27.057 in his Mercedes. That was a massive 1.095 seconds faster than Alonso.
Lewis Hamilton had yet to set a time in the other Mercedes. And when he finally did, 27 minutes into the session, it was a speedy 1:26.756
28 minutes into the session, Vettel headed out on the medium Pirellis as Rosberg turned a 1:26.534 to reclaim the top spot.
Midway through FP3 the top six were: Rosberg, Hamilton, Alonso, Jenson Button (McLaren), Raikkonen and Magnussen.
With 26 minutes remaining in the session, Vettel set a 1:28.085 to move into third.
With 23 minutes remaining in the session, Felipe Massa moved his Williams into third with a time of 1:28.022 on the hard tires.
With 20 minutes remaining in the session, the top six were: Rosberg, Hamilton, Massa, Vettel, Alonso and Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull.)
With 16 minutes remaining in the session, Adrian Sutil radioed in that there was something wrong with his Sauber and it felt like a completely different car compared to Friday.
With 15 minutes remaining in the session, most of the drivers were in the pits preparing for their runs on the medium tires. Rosberg has been 1.488 seconds ahead of third-placed Massa on the hard tires. Nobody was going to catch the works Mercedes, so it was just a question of who would be best of the rest.
With minutes remaining in the session, Rosberg, on the mediums, slammed in a 1:25.887. Hamilton tried a lap on the mediums but aborted it.
With 11 minutes remaining in the session, Max Chilton spun his Marussia into the gravel trap at Turn 5. With yellow flags out in that area it meant that nobody would be able to do a fast time in that sector. Most drivers remained in the pits.
With 8 minutes remaining in the session, the yellow flags were withdrawn. The track was about to get very busy.
With 5 minutes remaining in the session, only Hamilton remained in the pits.
With 4 minutes remaining in the session, Alonso and Magnussen were third and fourth. Then it was Alonso and Grosjean in the spots. Then it was Alonso and Massa in the spots and they held on to them for the remaining minutes.
The top 10 at the end of FP3 were: Rosberg, Hamilton, Alonso, Massa, Grosjean, Magnussen, Ricciardo, Button, Maldonado and Vettel.