Lewis Hamilton topped the times in the final practice session of the weekend, just nine hundredths of a second ahead of Mercedes AMG PETRONAS team-mate Nico Rosberg,
It was a damp FP3 session that was delayed by a huge shunt for Marcus Ericsson with just twenty minutes of the session remaining, just when teams were getting ready to complete their qualifying simulations. The Red flag stayed out for fifteen minutes due to the amount of damage to the barrier, which left drivers with just five minutes to get some quick laps on the board.
The Brit set a superb time of 1:30.904 to take the top spot on the soft tyre compound, the fastest time seen so far this weekend, ahead of Rosberg who was playing catch up after sitting out the whole of FP2 with a water leak, yesterday afternoon.
Daniel Ricciardo took third place, half a second down on the Mercedes, but Red Bull Racing can be pleased to finish ahead of both Scuderia Ferrari drivers in this session. Team-mate Max Verstappen took fourth place, and had been ahead of team-mate Ricciardo prior to the red flag, but finished FP3 a tenth down on the Australian.
Sebastian Vettel was fifth, but the red flag incident hindered Ferrari’s session slightly as they were yet to test out the soft tyre. With the five minutes remaining when the session resumed, the German was seen gesticulating wildly, before reporting over team radio that the gearbox, which was new today, had failed. If that is indeed the case, then a further five place grid penalty is on the cards for Vettel.
Valtteri Bottas finished the session in sixth for Williams Martini Racing, in what was a relatively quiet session for the Oxfordshire based squad. The Finn was ahead of Fernando Alonso in the first of the McLaren-Honda F1 team cars, with Nico Hulkenberg the first Sahara Force India in eighth.
Kimi Raikkonen was in ninth, almost two seconds down on the lead Mercedes time, to complete a poor session for the Ferrari squad, with Carlos Sainz Jr rounding out the top ten in the Scuderia Toro Rosso.
Esteban Gutierrez again finished the session ahead of Haas F1 team-mate Romain Grosjean, the Mexican taking an excellent eleventh spot for the American team, with Jenson Button down in twelfth, looking to break his Britsh Grand Prix podium duck this weekend – if the conditions continue as they are doing, then it could be a possibility!
Grosjean took thirteenth place, ahead of Sergio Perez in the second Force India, the Mexican looking slightly off the pace of team-mate Hulkenberg this weekend.
William’s Martini Racing’s Felipe Massa was way down in fifteenth spot, ahead of Daniil Kvyat in the second Toro Rosso, with Sauber F1 Team‘s Felipe Nasr finishing in seventeenth place. The Brazilian had a bit of a moment when he lost the rear of his car under braking coming into Vale and span the C35, but managed to continue on, unlike team-mate Ericsson who found the tyre wall.
Jolyon Palmer was eighteenth, three tenths ahead of Renault Sport F1 team-mate Kevin Magnussen, with Rio Haryanto next up for the Manor Racing Team, just one tenth ahead of Ericsson whose session finished early due to a crash during the second half of FP3.
Ericsson ended his session in the barrier following a high speed crash coming out of Stowe. The Swede got his left rear tyre on the kerb, which sent the Sauber spinning across the track and into the tyre wall. Ericsson got out of the car unhurt, but his car sustained a huge amount of damage, with all four corners of the C35 destroyed, leaving Sauber with plenty of work to get the car ready for qualifying later today.
Pascal Wehrlein brought up the rear of the field in twenty-second place, bringing the German back down to earth after such a successful time in Austria last time out.
It was a disrupted session, that started off relatively quiet due to the damp track, but hotted up at the end, following a late red flag. Heading into qualifying, Mercedes once again look extremely strong, with Red Bull seemingly best of the rest, ahead of Ferrari who look set to be troubled by technical woes once more.
2016 BRITISH GRAND PRIX – FP3 REULTS
|3||3||Daniel Ricciardo||AUS||Red Bull Racing||1:31.488||6|
|4||33||Max Verstappen||NED||Red Bull Racing||1:31.488||7|
|8||27||Nico Hulkenberg||GER||Force India||1:32.798||14|
|10||55||Carlos Sainz||SPA||Toro Rosso||1:32.889||10|
|14||11||Sergio Perez||MEX||Toro Rosso||1:33.361||13|
|16||26||Daniil Kvyat||RUS||Toro Rosso||1:33.538||10|