Scuderia Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen topped the times in the final practice session of the weekend ahead of the 2017 Spanish Grand Prix, two tenths of a second clear of team-mate Sebastian Vettel, as the tables turned in FP3.
The Finn set a time of 1:20.214 to take the top spot on a set of the soft tyres, to make it a Ferrari one-two. Despite struggling with the Ferrari early doors, the Finn came out on top of his team-mate for the third time this weekend, and the tweaks the Italian squad made to their cars overnight, look to have worked.
There was a brief issue for Vettel with ten minutes of the session to go however. As the German was about to head out onto track, his engine shut off whilst rolling down the pitlane. The mechanics were able to drag the SF70-H back to the Ferrari garage, but with the chequered flag looming the Italian squad reported an issue on Vettel’s telemetry, bringing a premature end to his FP3 running.
Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team driver Lewis Hamilton was third, three tenths down on the Finn, and the same margin up on team-mate Valtteri Bottas in fourth, despite the Finn doing barely any running during FP3.
An electrical fault was found on the Finn’s PU last night, and to fix it Mercedes had to break the curfew overnight. They believed they had resolved the problem, but this morning a further water leak was found, which meant further work was necessary during the FP3 session.
The power unit used for the first four races was put into the car, and Bottas eventually made it out onto track with just ten minutes of the session remaining, going straight onto the soft tyre for a few qualifying simulation runs.
Red Bull Racing driver Max Verstappen was fifth fastest, with team-mate Daniel Ricciardo two tenths further back in sixth. Having felt yesterday that they had made progress and closed in on rivals Ferrari, Red Bull appear to have lost that performance today.
Renault Sport Formula 1 Team driver Nico Hulkenberg was seventh, in another steady session for the German, with Williams Martini Racing driving Felipe Massa finishing in eighth.
Carlos Sainz Jr was the first of the Scuderia Toro Rosso drivers in ninth, but was struggling with understeer during the session. Despite that however, the substantial upgrade package the Faenza based squad have applied to the STR12 appears to be working well.
McLaren Honda Formula 1 Team driver Fernando Alonso completed the top ten after putting in an exceptional lap at the end of the FP3 session. After yesterdays early exit from FP1, when the Spaniard’s PU gave out after completing just a couple of installation laps, today’s performance was much improved, and must give the team some hope ahead of Alonso’s home race.
Haas F1 Team driver Romain Grosjean was next up in eleventh, ahead of team-mate Kevin Magnussen who was one tenth further back. Sahara Force India Formula 1 Team drivers, Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon, were thirteenth and fourteenth respectively, the Frenchman more or less matching the time of his more experienced team-mate.
Daniil Kvyat was fifteenth, six places and half a second down on team-mate Sainz Jr, with Sauber F1 Team driver Marcus Ericsson slotting into sixteenth, ahead of Williams rookie Lance Stroll, who was nine places behind team-mate Massa.
Jolyon Palmer, who did not take to the track until twenty minutes into this session, was way down in eighteenth place, having been held up by former team-mate Magnussen on his flying lap, with just Stoffel Vandoorne and Pascal Wehrlein, coming in behind the Brit.
The German was experiencing some issues with the C36. At one point complaining of the sensor on the right not working, causing him to lock up at Turn 1 and take to the run off area at one point.
Although Mercedes appeared to have the edge over the rest on Friday, Ferrari have come right back into it having seemingly made some progress overnight. Red Bull look to have dropped back from the top two once again, so it looks like we area all set for a close battle between Mercedes and Ferrari for pole.
Long run pace is a different story however, with the Silver Arrows drivers proving much quicker than Ferrari on the medium tyres during Friday practice. Will that actually prove to be the case during Sunday’s race though?
2017 Spanish Grand Prix – FP3 Results
|5||33||Max Verstappen||NED||Red Bull Racing||1:21.025|
|6||3||Daniel Ricciardo||AUS||Red Bull Racing||1:21.249|
|9||55||Carlos Sainz Jr||ESP||Toro Rosso||1:21.835|
|13||11||Sergio Perez||MEX||Force India||1:22.237|
|14||31||Esteban Ocon||FRA||Force India||1:22.297|
|15||26||Daniil Kvyat||RUS||Toro Rosso||1:22.391|