Rosberg quickest in FP3 for Mercedes in Malaysia

By on Saturday, March 24, 2012

Nico Rosberg

It was a damp start to proceedings in Malaysia as intermediates were the tyres of choice for many drivers’ as FP3 got underway. It was the Marussia of Timo Glock who took to the track first, followed out by many other drivers’ eager to complete their installation laps.

Nico Rosberg suffered a worrying first few minutes of the session, as the Mercedes mechanics fired up his car there was worries of a possible engine issue on the car. However, normality was resumed for Rosberg as he eventually took to the track on intermediate tyres.

As a dry line began to emerge throughout the final sector of the circuit, Bruno Senna was the first to switch to the dry tyres. He was also the first driver to set a timed lap with a 01:43.721, which he improved on by around a second as the track continued to improve.

The Lotus of Romain Grosjean then went top, with the his team-mate Kimi Raikkonen close behind. The Lotus team were suffering from various off-track worries after their hospitality building caught fire during the night.

Bruno Senna eventually returned to the top with a 01:39.622, before reigning World Champion Sebastian Vettel set a 01:38.888 to go fastest. That time was then beaten by Vettel’s team-mate, Mark Webber, who set a 01:38.518 before improving on that time by around four tenths.

After dominating yesterday’s practice sessions’, Lewis Hamilton had a tough session in his McLaren. The 2008 World Champion suffered a vicious spin at turn 14 as the car twitched violently, spinning Hamilton into the gravel and ruining the set of tyres he was using. Hamilton was able to return to the pits under his own steam, and remained in the pits for some time as the mechanics checked the car over.

Eventually, Hamilton returned to the track on the medium tyre compound, and immediately set the 2nd fastest time behind Venezuelan driver Pastor Maldonado. Sebastian Vettel then stole the top spot away from the Williams driver with a 01:38.024 before Maldonado returned once again to the top, this time entering the 01:37s.

As the session came to an end, the times began to tumble as Button went fastest with a 01:37.404 before Mark Webber then Sebastian Vettel went quickest for Red Bull. Eventually it was Nico Rosberg who went quickest, setting a 01:36.877 in the Mercedes.

With all the teams now fully focused on qualifying, can Mercedes steal pole-position from the likely candidates of McLaren and Red Bull, or will the weather cause a surprise grid for tomorrow’s race?

Pos Driver Team Time Laps
 1. Nico Rosberg          Mercedes              1m36.877             16
 2. Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault      1m37.320s  + 0.443   15
 3. Mark Webber           Red Bull-Renault      1m37.338s  + 0.461   12
 4. Kimi Raikkonen        Lotus-Renault         1m37.356s  + 0.479   13
 5. Romain Grosjean       Lotus-Renault         1m37.382s  + 0.505   13
 6. Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes      1m37.404s  + 0.527   12
 7. Pastor Maldonado      Williams-Renault      1m37.455s  + 0.578   13
 8. Michael Schumacher    Mercedes              1m37.663s  + 0.786   15
 9. Lewis Hamilton        McLaren-Mercedes      1m37.776s  + 0.899    8
10. Kamui Kobayashi       Sauber-Ferrari        1m37.977s  + 1.100   17
11. Bruno Senna           Williams-Renault      1m38.091s  + 1.214   20
12. Sergio Perez          Sauber-Ferrari        1m38.178s  + 1.301   15
13. Fernando Alonso       Ferrari               1m38.246s  + 1.369   17
14. Nico Hulkenberg       Force India-Mercedes  1m38.285s  + 1.408   16
15. Daniel Ricciardo      Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1m38.423s  + 1.546   13
16. Jean-Eric Vergne      Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1m38.640s  + 1.763   11
17. Paul di Resta         Force India-Mercedes  1m38.794s  + 1.917   18
18. Felipe Massa          Ferrari               1m39.20$s  + 2.332   16
19. Vitaly Petrov         Caterham-Renault      1m39.704s  + 2.827   15
20. Heikki Kovalainen     Caterham-Renault      1m40.189s  + 3.312   14
21. Charles Pic           Marussia-Cosworth     1m41.901s  + 5.024   14
22. Timo Glock            Marussia-Cosworth     1m42.007s  + 5.130   14
23. Pedro de la Rosa      HRT-Cosworth          1m42.464s  + 5.587   14
24. Narain Karthikeyan    HRT-Cosworth          1m43.378s  + 6.501   17

If you liked this post then share it with your friends on social media websites. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter to stay up to date with the latest F1 news.