“Chinese GP: Ferrari head FP3 in Shanghai”
Ferrari duo Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen headed proceedings for third free practice of the Chinese Grand Prix this morning.
Following the near non-running on Friday, FP3 was proved an extremely busy session as teams aimed to compress as much weekend running as possible into sixty minutes.
Vettel’s best of 1:33.336s came late in the session and the his Finnish teammate was only five-hundredths adrift come the chequered flag, as the Scuderia let loose in the final half-hour.
Through their fast laps, the Ferrari’s looked balanced and quick and a touch more stable than their Mercedes rivals, who endured a patchy session. Although Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton secured teh 3rd and 4th best times respectively, Bottas’ best was nearly four-tenths off of vattel’s quickest; however on two of his quickest runs, the Finn dropped significant time due to errors in the final corner.
Bottas missed a chunk of the session too, when his T-wing collapsed and fell off his Mercedes in the early moments – he stayed in the garage while the team rebalanced his machine.
Hamilton also lost time on his final run, when he lost approximately four-tenths due to an error in the final sector while following another car.
Felipe Massa (Williams, 5th) was significantly adrift of the top four with a best of 1:34.773s; however it likely that drivers and teams were also focussing much of their running on race pace and Sunday set-up.
The Red Bull duo of max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo were 6th and 7th respectively, with the latter running fastest in the first half hour, as he concentrated on qualifying running early on.
Jolyon Palmer took 9th, despite spinning his Renault at one point, while Daniil Kvyat (Toro Rosso, 15th) was the only driver to set his best time on soft tyres – all other drivers set their quickest on teh Pirelli super-softs.
It was another difficult session for McLaren. Fernando Alonso lost time in the garage, as the team investigated an issue linked to his Honda power unit. Both he and teammate Stoffel Vandoorne could do no better than 17th and 19th respectively.