Italian GP 2016
SEPTEMBER 3, 2016
Practice 3 Report - Way ahead
By Dan Knutson in Monza
Free Practice 3 for the Italian Grand Prix ended with Mercedes way ahead of its rivals. Lewis Hamilton was quickest of all as he clocked a time 1.3 seconds faster than Sebastian Vettel who was third best in his Ferrari. Hamilton was also almost four-tenths of a second ahead of teammate Nico Rosberg.
The ambient temperature at the start of the 60-minute session was 81 degrees Fahrenheit (27 degrees Centigrade) and the track temperature was 88 degrees Fahrenheit (31 degrees Centigrade.)
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 Esteban Ocon. Haas Ferrari - Romain Grosjean and Esteban Gutierrez.
Hamilton had been quickest on Friday.
"It's been a really good day," he said after clocking a 1:22.801 in FP2. "Monza is always an amazing track to drive and the fans always come out to show their support. We made good progress through our program across the two sessions and our long run pace felt good.
"We split the tire compounds between Nico and me so we could learn as much as possible going into qualifying and the race and we're looking quite strong. We've still got some work to do this evening to analyze all the data and prepare the car but I'm confident we can take the fight to the rest of the grid."
Ocon and Button were the first drivers out on track. Grosjean set the early pace with a lap of 1:24.463 using Pirelli's super soft compound slicks with the red sidewalls. A few minutes later he spun and stalled at Turn 9. That brought out the Virtual Safety Car for 4 minutes so that his car could be removed by the marshals.
Ricciardo then set off on a fast lap on new super softs while Verstappen was on new soft tires. Ricciardo posted a 1:23.709 and Verstappen a 1:24.002.
Then Raikkonen, on a new set of super soft Pirellis, clocked a 1:23.730.
Hamilton used the softs to top the times with a lap of 1:22.856. Rosberg could only manage a 1:23.333.
Vettel clocked a 1:23.312 on the super softs 24 minutes into FP3 to take over second place.
Halfway through the session, the top 10 were: Hamilton, Vettel, Rosberg, Raikkonen, Ricciardo, Bottas, Verstappen, Gutierrez, Grosjean and Button.
Three minutes later Verstappen started a run on new super softs while Ricciardo tried new softs. Verstappen, who had to rtun wide to avoid Magnussen's Renault, did a 1:23.740. Ricciardo clocked a 1:2 23.729.
Rosberg's first go on the super softs produced a time of 1:22.401, but he didn't hold on to first for the first for long as Hamilton crossed the line to record a 1:22.008.
Vettel improved to a 1:22.946 but stayed third. Then Bottas and Massa, both on new super softs, jumped into fifth and sixth respectively.
Others did super soft runs in the last 10 minutes as well. Every driver was on track with five minutes to go.
So the top 10 got juggled, and the final order ended up as: Hamilton, Rosberg, Vettel, Raikkonen, Bottas, Massa, Ricciardo, Verstappen, Perez and Gutierrez.