Spanish GP - Saturday - Practice Session 3 Report

The Flying Iceman

Kimi Raikkonen, Spanish GP 2017

Kimi Raikkonen, Spanish GP 2017 

 © The Cahier Archive

 

By Dan Knutson in Barcelona

Kimi "The Iceman" Raikkonen flew in Free Practice 3 as he clocked the fastest time of the session, beating out his Ferrari teammate Sebastian Vettel and the Mercedes duo of Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas.

The ambient temperature at the start of the 60-minute session was 72 degrees Fahrenheit (22 degrees Centigrade) and the track temperature was 84 degrees Fahrenheit (29 degrees Centigrade).

The lineup for the weekend was: Mercedes – Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas; Red Bull TAG Heuer – Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen; Ferrari – Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen; Force India Mercedes – Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon; Williams Mercedes – Felipe Massa and Lance Stroll; McLaren Honda – Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne; Renault – Nico Hulkenberg and Jolyon Palmer; Toro Rosso Renault – Daniil Kvyat and Carlos Sainz; Haas Ferrari – Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen; Sauber Ferrari – Marcus Ericsson and Pascal Wehrlein.

Hamilton turned the quickest lap time on Friday – a 1:20.802 – using Pirelli's soft compound slicks.

"First practice was very, very good," he said Friday, "but in second practice the track changed and shifted quite a lot, so it was slippery and quite a lot slower for everyone, especially with the gusts of wind. It was massively challenging but still fun nonetheless. The team has done an amazing job with the upgrades and the car is working just as we expected."

There had been, however, electrical problems on Bottas' Mercedes. The crew worked into the night on the car and were still working on it as FP3 began as they had now discovered a water leak. So the power unit he had used for the first four races was reinstalled in his car.

Grosjean and Ericsson got things rolling on Saturday.

After his car failed to do a single flying lap in FP1, Alonso was lapping in FP3 and he posted the first time (and for a while the only time) of the session. So a McLaren was on top of the timing screens for the first time in a long time. Then Ocon went 4.2 seconds faster in his Force India.

Things started to get serious and faster 15 minutes into the session when Raikkonen used the medium Pirellis to turn a 1:22.494 and then a 1:22.409. He was almost a second quicker than his teammate Vettel.

Hamilton's first flying laps on the medium put him second and 0.37 of a second.

Halfway through FP3 the top 10 were: Raikkonen, Hamilton, Vettel, Sainz, Stroll, Grosjean, Kvyat, Magnussen, Massa and Ocon. Ricciardo and Verstappen had not done a timed lap, and Bottas had yet to go out at all.

When the Red Bull drivers did flying laps, Verstappen moved into third and Ricciardo into fifth. Like the rest, they were on the mediums.

With 23 minutes to go, Raikkonen was out on the soft compound tires and improved to a 1:22.214. Vettel's first soft run ended with a 1:20.456.

Hamilton was next on the softs, but he was only third with a 1:20.595.

Ten minutes remained when Vettel headed out for another run only to have the Ferrari stop in pit lane. He did not get back on track.

Hulkenberg, Massa and Grosjean rounded out the top six at this stage.

Eight minutes remained when Bottas finally took to the track. He was on the soft tires.

Meanwhile Raikkonen had got down to a 1:20.214.

Bottas' first timed lap was a 1:20.868 – fourth quickest.

Verstappen's soft run put him fifth. Ricciardo's put him sixth.

The top 10 at the end of FP3 were: Raikkonen, Vettel, Hamilton, Bottas, Verstappen, Ricciardo, Hulkenberg, Massa, Sainz and Alonso.


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