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Alonso fastest after spinning in FP3

Fernando Alonso pushed too hard on cold tyres and ended up in the gravel at turn 2, but was still quickest in the session
Saturday, April 20, 2013

April 20th, 2013 (F1Plus / Chris Cameron-Dow) - Fernando Alonso has set the pace in Bahrain ahead of qualifying for Sunday's Grand Prix. The session was not all smooth sailing for the Ferrari driver, however, as he spun on the exit of turn 2 on a set of cold hard tyres. Alonso ended up in a shallow gravel trap, but was able to rejoin the track and return to the pits. He then put on a set of medium tyres and set the fastest lap of the session. The Red Bull pair of Vettel and Webber were second and third, underlining the pace they have shown throughout the weekend.

The times were very close, with the top 13 separated by just one second. Even the back of the field appears to have closed up a bit, with Charles Pic in the Caterham only 2.5 seconds off the pace.

There were plenty of technical problems throughout the field. Force India had to replace the rear wing on both of their cars. Max Chilton missed most of the session as the Marussia team changed the KERS water pump on his car. The other Marussia of Jules Bianchi had a small vapour fire, which set off the fire extinguishers in the car and necessitated a thorough check from the mechanics that cost Bianchi time in the session. Lewis Hamitlon had a left-rear tyre failure and what looked like suspension failure right at the end of the session. Hamilton managed to limp back to the pits, but there was visible damage to the left-rear suspension, with the wheel sitting at a very odd angle on the car.

Ahead of qualfiying, the front of the field is very close, with Ferrari, Red Bull, Lotus, Mercedes and Force India all within just a few tenths of each other. It's anybody's guess who will take pole position.

Full results of FP3:

Pos No Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1 3 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:33.247 12
2 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:33.348 0.101 15
3 2 Mark Webber Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:33.380 0.133 19
4 7 Kimi Räikkönen Lotus-Renault 1:33.446 0.199 21
5 10 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:33.455 0.208 19
6 8 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1:33.464 0.217 19
7 15 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1:33.596 0.349 17
8 14 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1:33.700 0.453 15
9 9 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:33.764 0.517 19
10 11 Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1:33.922 0.675 17
11 4 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:33.949 0.702 20
12 5 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1:34.117 0.870 17
13 6 Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1:34.282 1.035 18
14 19 Daniel Ricciardo STR-Ferrari 1:34.577 1.330 16
15 17 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1:34.611 1.364 17
16 18 Jean-Eric Vergne STR-Ferrari 1:34.678 1.431 16
17 16 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1:34.833 1.586 17
18 20 Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1:35.816 2.569 16
19 22 Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1:36.731 3.484 17
20 21 Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1:36.939 3.692 16
21 23 Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1:37.630 4.383 7
22 12 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1:39.592 6.345 29

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