In similar situations to yesterday – although thankfully minus the tyre punctures – Sebastian Vettel took top honours once again as practice drew to a close for the Belgian Grand Prix.
The German narrowly edged out championship rival Fernando Alonso by a tenth of a second, who was in turn another tenth of a second faster than Mark Webber.
With conditions proving sunny for today’s one-hour session, Jean-Éric Vergne proved that his Friday practice pace was no fluke with another top-five result. The Frenchman again left Toro Rosso teammate Daniel Ricciardo trailing in his wake down in eleventh place on the timing screens.
Vergne could not be more of a headache to the young Australian if he tried, with Ricciardo desperately trying to prove to the senior Red Bull Racing team of his worth as it looks to find a suitable replacement for Mark Webber. Being out-paced by former competition in the same machinery, in what is usually Ricciardo’s domain, flying laps, doesn’t reflect well on the Aussie.
McLaren’s session was interrupted by electrical and floor plank problems for Jenson Button, and floor damage for Sergio Perez, which caused them both to have limited running. Despite this, Button set a competitive lap five-tenths behind Vettel, which landed him in sixth position; Perez finished further down the order in sixteenth.
Mercedes again made little impact on the overall timing boards, with Rosberg ninth and Hamilton outside the top-ten in twelfth place. Although there have been speculations that Mercedes are running heavier loads during the qualifying practice of FP3, Hamilton still seemed to be struggling with the set-up and balance of his car, even finding himself facing the wrong way around at the Bus Stop chicane.
The Force Indias of Adrian Sutil and Paul di Resta also found themselves lower than expected in thirteenth and fifteenth respectively, often getting caught out with understeer, along with other drivers, at Turn 9.
2013 Belgian Formula 1 Grand Prix – Free Practice 3 Session Times:
|1.||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing Renault RB9||1:48.327||16|
|2.||Fernando Alonso||Scuderia Ferrari F138||1:48.432||+ 0.105||14|
|3.||Mark Webber||Red Bull Racing Renault RB9||1:48.533||+ 0.206||16|
|4.||Jean-Éric Vergne||Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR8||1:48.776||+ 0.449||15|
|5.||Felipe Massa||Scuderia Ferrari F138||1:48.788||+ 0.461||15|
|6.||Jenson Button||McLaren Mercedes MP4-28||1:48.882||+ 0.555||13|
|7.||Esteban Gutiérrez||Sauber Ferrari C32||1:48.930||+ 0.603||18|
|8.||Romain Grosjean||Lotus F1 Renault E21||1:48.967||+ 0.640||14|
|9.||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W04||1:48.993||+ 0.666||16|
|10.||Kimi Räikkönen||Lotus F1 Renault E21||1:49.008||+ 0.681||17|
|11.||Daniel Ricciardo||Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR8||1:49.035||+ 0.708||15|
|12.||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W04||1:49.046||+ 0.719||17|
|13.||Adrian Sutil||Force India Mercedes VJM06||1:49.122||+ 0.795||15|
|14.||Valtteri Bottas||Williams Renault FW35||1:49.177||+ 0.860||15|
|15.||Paul di Resta||Force India Mercedes VJM06||1:49.226||+ 0.899||14|
|16.||Sergio Pérez||McLaren Mercedes MP4-28||1:49.417||+ 1.090||14|
|17.||Nico Hülkenberg||Sauber Ferrari C32||1:49.478||+ 1.151||19|
|18.||Pastor Maldonado||Williams Renault FW35||1:50.418||+ 2.091||14|
|19.||Charles Pic||Caterham Renault CT03||1:51.416||+ 3.089||15|
|20.||Giedo van der Garde||Caterham Renault CT03||1:51.800||+ 3.473||18|
|21.||Jules Bianchi||Marussia Cosworth MR02||1:52.221||+ 3.894||17|
|22.||Max Chilton||Marussia Cosworth MR02||1:53.507||+ 5.180||18|