July 27th, 2013 (F1Plus / Chris Cameron-Dow) - Romain Grosjean has set the fastest lap time in the third and final practice session for this weekend's Hungarian Grand Prix. The Frenchman in the Lotus was 0.168 seconds clear of Fernando Alonso in the leading Ferrari, with Sergio Perez setting the third fastest time before crashing with just over a minute left in the session.
Perez lost the back end of his McLaren heading into turn 11, and clouted the tyre barrier on the outside of the corner hard, damaging the left-rear corner of his car. He looked disappointed after getting out of the car, shaking his head as though it could have been a driver error. However, the cause of the crash has not yet been revealed by the team. Up to that point, Perez had been impressively quick, just under a third of a second off the pace. McLaren have been struggling for pace all season, but seem to have found their feet a bit in Hungary after a set of upgrades that were tested during last week's Young Driver Test at Silverstone.
Mercedes seemed to recover a bit of form, particularly on the medium compound tyres. Lewis Hamilton was quickest in the session before the soft tyre runs started in the final 10 minutes, but could not continue his dominance on the quicker rubber. That task was left to Romain Grosjean, who set the fastest time with 6 minutes remaining.
In the other Lotus, Kimi Raikkonen struggled earlier in the session with overheating rear tyres. He had a spectacular slide in the final corner on a set of medium tyres, which will have done the tyres no good whatsoever, but was entertaining for the crowd nonetheless.
It was a session of mechanical issues. Esteban Gutierrez completed two installation laps, but then spent the rest of the session in the pits with an engine problem. Valtteri Bottas also suffered an engine problem towards the end of the session. But most bizarrely, Max Chilton reported on the radio that he had an engine problem, only to find out shortly afterwards that he had accidentally pressed the speed-lane limit button on his steering wheel. Chilton rectified his error and carried on without incident.
Mark Webber had an issue with his gearbox early in the session, reporting trouble with gear-shifting. He spent some time in the Red Bull garage, but managed to complete 17 laps in the 1 hour session.
Sebastian Vettel spent the majority of the session on a very long run on the medium tyres. He completed well over 20 laps on the same set, lapping consistently around 1 minute 25 seconds until quite late in the run. The race pace of the Red Bull looks quite ominous. But Vettel was not particularly quick on his soft tyre run, suggesting that Red Bull may have been hiding their pace ahead of qualifying by running the cars with a reasonable amount of fuel in FP3. Their true pace will be evident this afternoon.
Full results from FP3:
|4||1||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:21.125||0.395||27|
|7||2||Mark Webber||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:21.254||0.524||17|
|10||15||Adrian Sutil||Force India-Mercedes||1:21.519||0.789||20|
|13||14||Paul di Resta||Force India-Mercedes||1:21.963||1.233||21|
|18||21||Giedo van der Garde||Caterham-Renault||1:23.975||3.245||21|
|22||12||Esteban Gutierrez||Sauber-Ferrari||No time||2|