Fernando Alonso has staked his claim for pole position at this weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix after going quickest in the final practice session at the Sakhir circuit.
The Spaniard posted a late flying lap to edge out Sebastian Vettel by one-tenth of a second, although the German perhaps missed out on top spot after being held up in traffic on his final flying lap.
With conditions again sunny and hot, the teams spent the first part of the one-hour session finalising their Hard-compound running before switching to the Medium tyres for some late qualifying simulation running.
It was during this phase of proceedings that Alonso – who was second-quickest behind Vettel on the Hard tyres – had a wild spin at Turn 2, taking his well-worn tyres over the edge as he rotated the Ferrari without major damage.
Nonetheless, he produced a late 1:33.247 on the Medium tyres to claim top spot, while Vettel was denied after he came across the slower Charles Pic at the final corner, falling short of Alonso’s time by 0.101 seconds.
Vettel was just three-hundredths of a second faster than teammate Mark Webber in third spot, with the Australian set to be hit with a three-place grid penalty heading into this afternoon’s qualifying session.
Kimi Räikkönen was fourth-fastest in the Lotus ahead of Lewis Hamilton, although the Englishman’s Mercedes suffered a late failure as he returned to the pits. The issue was ultimately tied to a suspension failure, but his car suffered a damaged gearbox that will see him hit with a five-place grid penalty on Sunday.
Romain Grosjean was sixth-quickest in the second Lotus, followed by the Force India duo of Adrian Sutil and Paul di Resta, while the two Nicos (Rosberg and Hülkenberg) completed the top-ten for Mercedes and Sauber, respectively.
2013 Bahrain Formula 1 Grand Prix – Free Practice 3 Session Times:
|1.||Fernando Alonso||Scuderia Ferrari F138||1:33.247||12|
|2.||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing Renault RB9||1:33.348||+ 0.101||15|
|3.||Mark Webber||Red Bull Racing Renault RB9||1:33.380||+ 0.133||19|
|4.||Kimi Räikkönen||Lotus F1 Renault E21||1:33.446||+ 0.199||21|
|5.||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W04||1:33.455||+ 0.208||19|
|6.||Romain Grosjean||Lotus F1 Renault E21||1:33.464||+ 0.217||19|
|7.||Adrian Sutil||Force India Mercedes VJM06||1:33.596||+ 0.349||17|
|8.||Paul di Resta||Force India Mercedes VJM06||1:33.700||+ 0.453||15|
|9.||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W04||1:33.764||+ 0.517||19|
|10.||Nico Hülkenberg||Sauber Ferrari C32||1:33.922||+ 0.675||17|
|11.||Felipe Massa||Scuderia Ferrari F138||1:33.949||+ 0.702||20|
|12.||Jenson Button||McLaren Mercedes MP4-28||1:34.117||+ 0.870||17|
|13.||Sergio Pérez||McLaren Mercedes MP4-28||1:34.282||+ 1.035||18|
|14.||Daniel Ricciardo||Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR8||1:34.577||+ 1.330||16|
|15.||Valtteri Bottas||Williams Renault FW35||1:34.611||+ 1.364||17|
|16.||Jean-Éric Vergne||Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR8||1:34.678||+ 1.431||16|
|17.||Pastor Maldonado||Williams Renault FW35||1:34.833||+ 1.586||17|
|18.||Charles Pic||Caterham Renault CT03||1:35.816||+ 2.569||16|
|19.||Jules Bianchi||Marussia Cosworth MR02||1:36.731||+ 3.484||17|
|20.||Giedo van der Garde||Caterham Renault CT03||1:36.939||+ 3.692||17|
|21.||Max Chilton||Marussia Cosworth MR02||1:37.630||+ 4.383||7|
|22.||Esteban Gutiérrez||Sauber Ferrari C32||1:39.562||+ 6.345||29|