Fernando Alonso has staked Ferrari’s claims for a possible spoiling role in this weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix by topping a closely-fought final practice session at the Marina Bay Circuit.
The Spaniard – fastest in the opening practice session on Friday – narrowly edged out Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo and Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg for top spot in the one-hour session, clocking a 1:47.299 on Pirelli’s SuperSoft tyre compound.
Rosberg was the first to switch compounds, while teammate and championship rival Lewis Hamilton struggled with an error-ridden session, which included a quick revolution at the circuit’s traditional spinning point, Turn 5, en route to the sixth-fastest time.
Off-contract Toro Rosso driver Jean-Éric Vergne put in a starring role and finished up fourth-fastest ahead of Sebastian Vettel, who had a trouble-free session after his engine failure limited his FP2 running on Friday to less than half-a-dozen laps.
After running well off-the-pace by their usual standards on Friday, Williams looked reborn in the final practice session and had Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas place seventh- and eighth-fastest respectively, ahead of the second Ferrari of Kimi Räikkönen, who was the slowest of the nine-car group to lap within one second of Alonso.
Sauber driver Esteban Gutiérrez was another surprise performer, hauling his Sauber Ferrari into tenth-fastest.
Neither of the duelling McLaren or Force India pairings made it inside the top ten. Nico Hülkenberg beat Kevin Magnussen and Jenson Button to the eleventh-fastest time, and they were trailed by the second Toro Rosso of Daniil Kvyat, and the remaining Force India of Sergio Pérez and the other Sauber of Adrian Sutil.
Neither of the two Lotus runners, Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado, looked particularly comfortable on track, and again look most likely to join the Marussia / Caterham quartet in being eliminated in the first of the upcoming three-part qualifying session that starts at 9:00pm local time (GMT +8).
Jules Bianchi put his Marussia on top of the final battle for the last four spots on the timesheets, a full six-tenths of a second clear of Kamui Kobayashi’s Caterham. Max Chilton and Marcus Ericsson claimed the final two spots, with both running well off the pace of their respective teammates.
2014 Singapore Formula 1 Grand Prix – Free Practice 3 Results:
|Driver||Team / Entry||Time||Gap||Laps|
|1.||Fernando Alonso||Scuderia Ferrari F14T||1:47.299||12|
|2.||Daniel Ricciardo||Infiniti Red Bull Racing Renault RB10||1:47.350||+ 0.051||15|
|3.||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W05||1:47.488||+ 0.189||15|
|4.||Jean-Éric Vergne||Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault STR9||1:47.693||+ 0.394||17|
|5.||Sebastian Vettel||Infiniti Red Bull Racing Renault RB10||1:47.711||+ 0.412||17|
|6.||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W05||1:47.738||+ 0.439||12|
|7.||Felipe Massa||Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW36||1:47.909||+ 0.610||15|
|8.||Valtteri Bottas||Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW36||1:48.205||+ 0.906||16|
|9.||Kimi Räikkönen||Scuderia Ferrari F14T||1:48.226||+ 0.927||16|
|10.||Esteban Gutiérrez||Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C33||1:48.422||+ 1.123||20|
|11.||Nico Hülkenberg||Force India Mercedes Mercedes VJM07||1:48.450||+ 1.151||11|
|12.||Kevin Magnussen||McLaren Mercedes MP4-29||1:48.577||+ 1.278||9|
|13.||Jenson Button||McLaren Mercedes MP4-29||1:48.599||+ 1.300||16|
|14.||Daniil Kvyat||Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault STR9||1:48.637||+ 1.338||18|
|15.||Sergio Pérez||Force India Mercedes Mercedes VJM07||1:49.078||+ 1.779||15|
|16.||Adrian Sutil||Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C33||1:49.115||+ 1.816||19|
|17.||Romain Grosjean||Lotus F1 Team Renault E22||1:49.485||+ 2.186||17|
|18.||Pastor Maldonado||Lotus F1 Team Renault E22||1:50.149||+ 2.850||15|
|19.||Jules Bianchi||Marussia F1 Team Ferrari MR03||1:50.376||+ 3.077||17|
|20.||Kamui Kobayashi||Caterham F1 Team Renault CT05||1:50.939||+ 3.640||17|
|21.||Max Chilton||Marussia F1 Team Ferrari MR03||1:51.221||+ 3.922||16|
|22.||Marcus Ericsson||Caterham F1 Team Renault CT05||1:51.598||+ 4.299||17|
Image via XPB Images