Fernando Alonso has staked his claim for pole position at the Chinese Grand Prix after comfortably emerging as the quickest driver in the final practice session at this weekend’s event at the Shanghai International Circuit.
In a late period of soft-tyre qualifying simulations, Alonso wound up a full six-tenths faster than teammate Felipe Massa, giving Ferrari a confidence-boosting 1-2 as the field heads into qualifying this afternoon.
With fine conditions again the order of the day, the eleven teams devoted much of the sixty-minute session to more set-up work for tomorrow’s race, before concentrating on qualifying simulations in the closing minutes of play.
The Mercedes duo of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg were the pacesetters during this period, before the Soft-compound Pirelli tyres were bolted on with twenty minutes to go.
But Mercedes’ joy came to an early end at that point. Rosberg was unable to complete a timed Soft-tyre run after encountering a hydraulics problem with his car. While he tumbled down the timesheets to finish up fourteenth overall, Hamilton only managed to squeeze in one flying lap after he also had dramas with his car. The Englishman finished third-quickest.
The duelling Red Bull Racing pair of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber finished fourth- and fifth-fastest respectively; both struggled on the circuit’s long 1.3-kilometre back straight, where the RB9 has shown a lack of straightline speed.
Adrian Sutil wound up sixth quickest in the ever-improving Force India, with Kimi Räikkönen and Jenson Button completing the top-eight, ahead of Sergio Pérez and Nico Hülkenberg.
Qualifying gets underway at 2:00PM local time (GMT+8). Who will finish on pole?
2013 Chinese Formula 1 Grand Prix – Free Practice 3 Session Times:
|1.||Fernando Alonso||Scuderia Ferrari F138||1:35.391||13|
|2.||Felipe Massa||Scuderia Ferrari F138||1:36.013||+ 0.622||11|
|3.||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W04||1:36.065||+ 0.674||18|
|4.||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing Renault RB9||1:36.286||+ 0.895||17|
|5.||Mark Webber||Red Bull Racing Renault RB9||1:36.420||+ 1.029||15|
|6.||Adrian Sutil||Force India Mercedes VJM06||1:36.549||+ 1.158||16|
|7.||Kimi Räikkönen||Lotus F1 Renault E21||1:36.605||+ 1.214||16|
|8.||Jenson Button||McLaren Mercedes MP4-28||1:36.693||+ 1.302||16|
|9.||Sergio Pérez||McLaren Mercedes MP4-28||1:36.777||+ 1.386||16|
|10.||Nico Hülkenberg||Sauber Ferrari C32||1:36.853||+ 1.462||15|
|11.||Jean-Éric Vergne||Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR8||1:37.072||+ 1.681||15|
|12.||Daniel Ricciardo||Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR8||1:37.205||+ 1.814||18|
|13.||Pastor Maldonado||Williams Renault FW35||1:37.300||+ 1.909||11|
|14.||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W04||1:37.349||+ 1.958||12|
|15.||Valtteri Bottas||Williams Renault FW35||1:37.457||+ 2.066||16|
|16.||Paul di Resta||Force India Mercedes VJM06||1:37.487||+ 2.096||13|
|17.||Esteban Gutiérrez||Sauber Ferrari C32||1:37.740||+ 2.349||20|
|18.||Romain Grosjean||Lotus F1 Renault E21||1:37.813||+ 2.422||16|
|19.||Jules Bianchi||Marussia Cosworth MR02||1:38.496||+ 3.105||17|
|20.||Charles Pic||Caterham Renault CT03||1:38.821||+ 3.430||18|
|21.||Max Chilton||Marussia Cosworth MR02||1:39.627||+ 4.236||16|
|22.||Giedo van der Garde||Caterham Renault CT03||1:39.652||+ 4.261||18|
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