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German GP 2016

JULY 30, 2016

Practice 3 Report - Top of the pile

Nico Rosberg, German GP 2016
© Active Pictures

By Dan Knutson in Hockenheim

Nico Rosberg ended up on top of the pile for the third straight practice session for the German Grand Prix as he once again edged out his Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton.

The line-up for the weekend was: Mercedes - Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg. Ferrari - Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen. Williams Mercedes - Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas. Red Bull TAG Heuer - Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen. Force India Mercedes - Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez. Renault - Kevin Magnussen and Jolyon Palmer. Toro Rosso Ferrari - Daniil Kvyat and Carlos Sainz. Sauber Ferrari - Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr. McLaren Honda - Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button. Manor Mercedes - Pascal Wehrlein and Rio Haryanto. Haas Ferrari - Romain Grosjean and Esteban Gutierrez.

Rosberg had been quicker than Hamilton in both practice sessions on Friday.

"Today I wouldn't say has been a good day," Hamilton said on Friday, "but it's definitely not been a bad day. It was definitely better than it was on Friday in Budapest, not as strong as Silverstone but okay. We've got work to do with the set-up."

Rosberg said his runs on Friday were a good start to the weekend.

"It's great to be back here in Hockenheim at this historic track," he said. "The tarmac is old, so the way the tires work is completely different to in Hungary where the tarmac was new. Here it's much more snappy and more of a challenge. But in general our car was working well out there today."

First out on the snappy track for FP3 were Palmer and Gutierrez.

Verstappen used the soft compound Pirelli slicks to set the first quick time of the session - a 1:17.106 - but Bottas beat that with a 1:16.889 using the super soft compound.

Fifteen minutes into the session, Vettel did a run on the super softs, as did Rosberg. Vettel crossed the line to post a 1:16.443. Several seconds later Rosberg crossed the line to post a 1:16.134. And a few seconds later Hamilton turned a 1:16.015.

So now, 20 minutes in, the top six were: Hamilton, Rosberg, Vettel, Bottas, Massa and Verstappen.

Grosjean added to the action by spinning off the track at Turn 3. Missing from the action was Ricciardo who had yet to set a lap time.

"Guys, are you sure the aero is correct? I almost spun the car. And something's happening with the gearbox," Grosjean radioed.

Hamilton then lowered the prime time to a 1:15.795. Raikkonen's first flying lap yielded a 1:16.465 which put him into fourth place.

Just before the midpoint of the session, Verstappen did another run on the super soft Pirellis and jumped up to third place with a 1:16.182. Back in the pits, the Red Bull mechanics were finally getting Ricciardo's car ready to go out.

With 22 minutes remaining in FP3, Rosberg clocked a 1:15.738 on the super softs. Ricciardo, using the soft slicks, slotted into sixth with a 1:16.763.

The top 10 with 15 minutes to go were: Rosberg, Hamilton, Vettel, Verstappen, Raikkonen, Ricciardo, Bottas, Massa, Magnussen and Palmer.

Now, of course, some of the drivers would head out for qualifying simulations.

Massa was the first to do so, and he moved up one place. Raikkonen jumped from fifth to third.

Ricciardo slammed in a 1:15.837 to replace Raikkonen in third place. Rosberg did not bother going out for another run, and Hamilton's laps were on worn tires.

So Rosberg ended up on top of the pile at the end of FP3 ahead of Hamilton, Ricciardo, Raikkonen, Vettel, Verstappen, Bottas, Massa, Alonso and Hulkenberg.