Ferrari completed a one-two in the third free practice session on Saturday as Sebastian Vettel topped the timing screens with teammate Kimi Raikkonen following home in second. Mercedes had the opposite luck as they struggled with the softest tyre compound and Nico Rosberg crashed out. Hamilton was unable to get the tyres working well due to the tyre degradation whilst teammate Rosberg ended the session in the barriers. This saw Rosberg finish in last place during the session after suffering a huge shunt as he exited turn two on his first run on a brand new set of ultra-soft Pirelli tyres. He hit the barriers after getting on the kerb and the car was spat round, this saw the German hit the barriers with both ends of the car. It appeared that the touch on the kerb caused the top wishbone on the left rear suspension to fail which forced the car to snap sideways sending the Mercedes into barriers. Rosberg escaped the shunt with no injuries but the car sustained a lot of severe damage to the rear wing, rear suspension, the front left and the front wing. This was sure to keep the Mercedes AMG Petronas engineers busy with a lot of repairs to complete ahead of qualifying later in the day. Rosberg was a tenth and a half up on the leading time as he approached turn two but unfortunately was unable to complete the lap to set the time after ending in the barriers.

Sebastian Vettel set the fastest lap of the weekend so far in the third free practice session, the time was 1:07.098. The Ferrari driver was on the ultra-soft Pirelli tyre compound. Kimi Raikkonen was just a tenth of a second behind, making it a Ferrari one-two. Ferrari appeared not to be experiencing tyre wear as much as a lot of the other teams had during the third free practice session, this could be vital in the race on Sunday.

Mercedes AMG Petronas’ Lewis Hamilton finished the session in third place, two tenths behind Vettel’s time. Hamilton had a big moment at turn eighth during the early stages of the session as he had a huge amount of oversteer and drifted out wide into the run off area. When looking at replays of the incident a lot of graining or blistering seems to be occurring on his tyres. This was seen after just eight laps of the running on high fuel and on the ultra-soft tyres. Hamilton returned to the pit lane and spent quite a lot of time in the garage. He returned to the track with just twenty minutes of the practice session remaining. His first lap back on track was disturbed by teammate Rosberg’s off. The session went back green with just twelve minutes remaining. Hamilton did enough to promote himself up into third place during the final twelve minutes.

Daniel Ricciardo finished the session in fourth aboard his Red Bull Racing machine, he was one tenth quicker than teammate Max Verstappen in fifth place. Ricciardo also seemed to be experiencing bad blistering on his tyres throughout the session but was able to stay just half a second behind Vettel. Valtteri Bottas finished in sixth in his Williams Martini Racing entry. Teammate Felipe Massa was just two hundredths of a second behind. Niko Hülkenberg ended the session in eighth place for Sahara Force India. Only one tenth behind was McLaren-Honda F1 driver pairing Jenson Button with teammate Fernando Alonso just two hundredths of a second behind. The duo spent almost half of the practice session in the pit lane and it was a great effort from both of them to end the session inside the top ten.

Sergio Perez finished in eleventh in his second session of the weekend in the cockpit of the Force India car. He had quite a few moments around the circuit during the session, particularly at turn eight. This made him unable to get in a perfect lap time together. In twelfth place was Haas F1 driver Esteban Gutierrez, he was two places but just one tenth of a second ahead of teammate Romain Grosjean.

Manor Racing’s Pascal Wehrlein was having a good session and managed to finish in thirteenth place ahead of Kevin Magnussen aboard his Renault Sport entry with Daniil Kyvat being the first of the Scuderia Toro Rosso cars. The Toro Rosso team seemed to be having a pretty poor session as teammate Carlos Sainz finished further down in eighteenth place after showing strong performances in the previous races. Jolyon Palmer ended the session in seventeenth place ahead of Sainz. Manor Racing’s Rio Haryanto was in nineteenth. The driver pairing for Sauber of Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr finished the session in twentieth and twenty-first.

The finishing positions and times from the third free practice session from the Red Bull Ring in Austria are as follows:

  1. Sebastian Vettel         1:07.098
  2. Kimi Raikkonen         1:07.234
  3. Lewis Hamilton         1:07.308
  4. Daniel Ricciardo         1:07.639
  5. Max Verstappen         1:07.761
  6. Valtteri Bottas         814
  7. Felipe Massa         1:07.831
  8. Nico Hülkenberg         1:08.285
  9. Jenson Button         1:08.304
  10. Fernando Alonso         1:08.327
  11. Sergio Perez 1:08.442
  12. Esteban Gutierrez 1:08.475
  13. Pascal Wehrlein 1:08.534
  14. Romain Grosjean 1:08.550
  15. Kevin Magnussen 1:08.569
  16. Daniil Kyvat 1:08.786
  17. Jolyon Palmer 1:08.939
  18. Carlos Sainz 1:09.008
  19. Rio Haryanto 1:09.116
  20. Marcus Ericsson 1:09.137
  21. Felipe Nasr 1:09.557
  22. Nico Rosberg 1:10.959

 

©FAY TILLEY 3RD JUNE 2016.

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