Lewis Hamilton has returned to the top of the timesheets by posting the quickest time in the final practice session ahead of qualifying for the Brazilian Grand Prix.
Overnight rain meant that the grip levels worn into the circuit were washed away, leaving drivers to rubber in the circuit again before setting out to post qualifying lap simulations.
Mercedes chose not to run in the first portion of FP3, as they felt they didn’t need to complete much running on the medium compound and could let other teams settle the track for them.
Kimi Raikkonen was the quickest of the session early on for Ferrari posting a 1:14.373, which he quickly bettered by two and a half tenths. Max Verstappen did his best to match Raikkonen’s time in second but could only manage to get within seven-tenths of a second.
Sebastian Vettel then made his way to the track and demoted his team-mate from first position by 0.038 seconds. Valtteri Bottas jumped into third place and within a second of Vettel’s time, although Verstappen was quick to beat the Finn’s best lap by a tenth of a second.
Hamilton made his first appearance in the session after 20 minutes, however, his W06 stopped on track as it lost gears. The Briton managed to get it going again and returned back to the pits.
The small interruption only lasted a few minutes before he was back onto the circuit, where he slotted into second position behind team-mate Nico Rosberg who had posted his second fastest lap of a 1:13.324.
On his next timed run, Hamilton lost control of the rear of his car and spun on the exit of Turn 10 and into Turn 11, flat-spotting his set of medium compound Pirellis.
With 15 minutes left to run in the session, Daniel Ricciardo joined his team-mate Daniil Kvyat in making the switch to the soft compound tyre. The Australian put his Red Bull in second position behind Rosberg and 0.25 seconds ahead of Kvyat.
The rest of the field also made the switch to their qualifying simulations and put on fresh soft tyres, with Hamilton posting the benchmark time of the session, a 1:12.070.
Rosberg made two attempts to challenge his team-mates time but aborted the laps, despite being quicker in the first sector by two-tenths of a second. The German posted one flying lap on the soft compounds to close the gap to a tenth of a second to Hamilton, losing time in the final two sectors. Vettel was 0.690 seconds behind in third position.
Qualifying takes place at 14:00 local time (GMT -2).
|Formula 1 Grande Prêmio Petrobras do Brasil 2015 – Free Practice 3 Results|
|Pos||Driver||Team / Entry||Time||Gap||Laps|
|1.||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W06 Hybrid||1:12.070||16|
|2.||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W06 Hybrid||1:12.193||+ 0.123||19|
|3.||Sebastian Vettel||Scuderia Ferrari SF15-T||1:12.760||+ 0.690||19|
|4.||Kimi Räikkönen||Scuderia Ferrari SF15-T||1:13.096||+ 1.026||20|
|5.||Valtteri Bottas||Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW37||1:13.335||+ 1.265||25|
|6.||Nico Hülkenberg||Sahara Force India Mercedes VJM08B||1:13.345||+ 1.275||19|
|7.||Romain Grosjean||Lotus F1 Team Mercedes E23 Hybrid||1:13.437||+ 1.367||19|
|8.||Sergio Pérez||Sahara Force India Mercedes VJM08B||1:13.506||+ 1.436||18|
|9.||Pastor Maldonado||Lotus F1 Team Mercedes E23 Hybrid||1:13.534||+ 1.464||20|
|10.||Max Verstappen||Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault STR10||1:13.548||+ 1.478||21|
|11.||Daniel Ricciardo||Infiniti Red Bull Racing Renault RB11||1:13.572||+ 1.502||23|
|12.||Felipe Massa||Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW37||1:13.742||+ 1.672||24|
|13.||Daniil Kvyat||Infiniti Red Bull Racing Renault RB11||1:13.829||+ 1.759||17|
|14.||Fernando Alonso||McLaren Honda MP4-30||1:13.850||+ 1.780||19|
|15.||Carlos Sainz||Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault STR10||1:13.959||+ 1.889||23|
|16.||Marcus Ericsson||Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C34||1:14.185||+ 2.115||23|
|17.||Felipe Nasr||Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C34||1:14.288||+ 2.218||22|
|18.||Jenson Button||McLaren Honda MP4-30||1:14.445||+ 2.375||17|
|19.||Will Stevens||Manor Marussia F1 Team Ferrari MR03B||1:16.671||+ 4.601||15|
|20.||Alexander Rossi||Manor Marussia F1 Team Ferrari MR03B||1:17.059||+ 4.989||15|
Image via Mercedes AMG F1 Petronas