Daniel Ricciardo has recorded the fastest time in a rain-hit final practice session today at the Chinese Grand Prix. The Australian clocked a 1:53.958 on the greasy track surface to emerge quickest of the pack by over half a second, with Felipe Massa’s Williams giving chase.
The Lotus’ of Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado both surprisingly finished inside the top-six, although yesterday’s pacesetters, Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso, were among four more-fancied runners who didn’t bother to set a time.
The wet conditions underscored the folly of the current regulations which limit each car to just four sets of Intermediate and three Wet tyre sets for the entire weekend. With barely any running, the one-hour session was akin to watching paint dry as almost everyone kept their lap tally to single figures, saving rubber for what is expected to be a wet qualifying session later this afternoon.
Ricciardo’s five tours of the Shanghai circuit yielded the quickest time, ensuring he was comfortably quickest from Massa and Grosjean, who put down the early benchmark time.
The evergreen Nico Hülkenberg was fourth-quickest in his Force India, narrowly out-pacing the Ferrari of Kimi Räikkönen and the second Lotus of Pastor Maldonado, who put in a reasonably impressive lap time before his Lotus developed another technical drama that forced him to stop with 20 minutes of the session left.
Daniil Kvyat was seventh-quickest with seven laps to his credit, outpacing Valtteri Bottas, who spun his Williams during the session. Former teammates Jenson Button and Sergio Pérez rounded out the top ten in their respective McLaren and Force India racers.
Sebastian Vettel was very downbeat during the session, with his Red Bull RB10 suffering a front brake problem, followed later on by an ERS issue which will keep his mechanics busy over the lunch break while they try and solve the issues before qualifying, which gets underway at 2:00pm local time (GMT +8).
2014 Chinese Formula 1 Grand Prix – Free Practice 3 Results:
Image via XPB Images