Rosberg tops FP3 as Hamilton spins

by Paul Hensby

Nico Rosberg returned to the top of the timing screens in the final free practice session at the Circuit de Catalunya as his Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS team-mate Lewis Hamilton spun.

Rosberg’s best time of 1m26.021s was enough to see him fastest, while Sebastian Vettel once again split the two Mercedes drivers in his Ferrari, just 0.156s behind his fellow German.

Hamilton’s spin at the exit of the high-speed turn three midway through the session brought out the yellow flags, and although he was able to avoid the barriers and get going again, he heavily flat-spotted his tyres. He was able to return to the track without any dramas, but could only set the third fastest time after a mistake on his quick lap.

Valtteri Bottas put his Williams Martini Racing machine ahead of the second Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen, who was told over the radio that his quickest lap was set with his car in the wrong settings, which can partly explain his 0.767s gap to Vettel.

Daniel Ricciardo was sixth in his first meaningful running of the weekend in his Infiniti Red Bull Racing, but was still over a second slower than the ultimate pace. Team-mate Daniil Kvyat was ninth quickest but missed most of the session as the team fixed a problem on his car, completing only seven laps.

The second Williams of Felipe Massa and the Scuderia Toro Rosso of Max Verstappen were in between the two Red Bull’s, while Carlos Sainz Jr completed the top ten in the second Toro Rosso.

Jenson Button was just outside the top ten in the leading McLaren-Honda, while home hero was down in fourteenth, behind the Sahara Force India of Nico Hulkenberg and the Sauber of Felipe Nasr.

Romain Grosjean led team-mate Pastor Maldonado but the two Lotus F1 Team drivers were down in fifteenth and sixteenth, ahead of the second Sauber of Marcus Ericsson and Sergio Perez, who continues to struggle this weekend in the second Force India.

Once again the Manor F1 Team drivers were at the back, with Will Stevens ahead of Roberto Merhi by 0.624s, with both drivers within the 107% time.

Spanish Grand Prix Free Practice 3 Times

16Nico RosbergGERMercedes1m26.021s
25Sebastian VettelGERFerrari1m26.177s
344Lewis HamiltonGBRMercedes1m26.222s
477Valtteri BottasFINWilliams-Mercedes1m26.682s
57Kimi RaikkonenFINFerrari1m26.944s
63Daniel RicciardoAUSRed Bull-Renault1m27.048s
719Felipe MassaBRZWilliams-Mercedes1m27.109s
833Max VerstappenNEDToro Rosso-Renault1m27.132s
926Daniil KvyatRUSRed Bull-Renault1m27.313s
1055Carlos Sainz JrESPToro Rosso-Renault1m27.809s
1122Jenson ButtonGBRMcLaren-Honda1m27.938s
1227Nico HulkenbergGERForce India-Mercedes1m28.082s
1312Felipe NasrBRZSauber-Ferrari1m28.096s
1414Fernando AlonsoESPMcLaren-Honda1m28.304s
158Romain GrosjeanFRALotus-Mercedes1m28.578s
1613Pastor MaldonadoVENLotus-Mercedes1m28.618s
179Marcus EricssonSWESauber-Ferrari1m28.788s
1811Sergio PerezMEXForce India-Mercedes1m28.996s
1928Will StevensGBRManor-Ferrari1m31.125s
2098Roberto MerhiESPManor-Ferrari1m31.749s

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