British Grand Prix: Trackside in FP3

By on Saturday, June 29, 2013
Mercedes AMG Petronas

Mercedes AMG Petronas

The final practice session ahead of the British Grand Prix resulted in a Mercedes lockout of the front two positions. Initially the Silver Arrows weren’t too strong through Abbey on their long run pace, so if they start out in front it might not be a straightforward race. Lotus’s low ride height meant there were plenty of sparks for the Silverstone fans and the E21 looked planted through the quick stuff. Kimi Raikkonen seemed more at ease than Romain Grosjean, who had a little twitch through Abbey. The wind was playing havoc for several drivers; Fernando Alonso had to make a big correction, while Felipe Massa was also ill at ease in the Ferrari F138. As on Friday, Sauber didn’t look in good shape; neither Nico Hulkenberg nor Esteban Gutierrez were confident through the corner but Gutierrez seemed to be more out of shape. Sergio Perez, pre-tyre failure, was also struggling with the handling of his McLaren MP4-28.

After a brief interlude to collect parts of tyre from the track, the session restarted. Alonso again had another big wobble through Abbey and had to take a big chunk of kerb on his way through. Sebastian Vettel seemed to glide through the corner in comparison to his rivals and appeared to be gliding through both the quick Abbey/Farm complex, as well as the technical Arena section. Jules Bianchi was committed into Village, much more so than team-mate Max Chilton and Dutch rival Giedo van der Garde, the latter very tentative under braking. Paul di Resta suffered a minor lock-up under braking, while Felipe Massa took a big chunk of kerb and had a bit of a clumsy line on one lap. Lewis Hamilton carried so much speed into the corner and had to make several minor corrections, but it was a style that rewarded him with a quick lap time, at least until team-mate Nico Rosberg took top honours.

Mercedes has the speed over one lap, but across a race distance you'd be a brave person to bet against Red Bull.

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