May 11th, 2013 (F1Plus / Chris Cameron-Dow) - The third Free Practice session for this weekend's Spanish Grand Prix has ended with Felipe Massa on top, followed closely by the Lotus of Kimi Raikkonen and Red Bull of Mark Webber.
The 60-minute session saw plenty of running from the drivers as they prepare for qualifying and tomorrow's race. Massa's fastest lap time of 1:21.901 suggests that pole position could be as fast as a low 1:21 or high 1:20. That compares to last year's quickest time of 1:21.707 by Lewis Hamitlon, who was subsequently excluded from qualifying due to a technical infringement.
Ferrari, Lotus and Red Bull are all looking very quick ahead of qualifying. Mercedes did not deliver the lap times expected in FP3 after taking pole in the last two races. But that could mean they were running on slightly higher fuel loads that their rivals. The true single lap pace of all the cars will be revealed in this afternoon's qualfiying session.
The tyres are holding together quite well, and some drivers found they could deliver competitive times on their second flying lap. That could make qualifying quite interesting, with longer runs from the drivers than we typically see.
The surprise package of the weekend continues to be Toro Rosso. A large set of updates to the car for this weekend has seen a significant step forward for Red Bull's sister team. Jean-Eric Vergne was just eight tenths of a second off the fastest time in FP3, and looks quick enough to challenge for a top ten grid position this afternoon.
Full results of FP3:
|3||2||Mark Webber||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:22.044||0.143||17|
|5||1||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:22.229||0.328||17|
|7||14||Paul di Resta||Force India-Mercedes||1:22.574||0.673||11|
|8||15||Adrian Sutil||Force India-Mercedes||1:22.729||0.828||17|
|22||21||Giedo van der Garde||Caterham-Renault||1:25.250||3.349||18|