November 23rd, 2013 (F1Plus / Chris Cameron-Dow) - Mark Webber topped the times in his last ever Formula One practice session, at Interlagos in Brazil. The Australian completed only five laps in the 60-minute session, but that was enough to secure him the top spot. Lotus drivers Romain Grosjean and Heikki Kovalainen were second and third fastest ahead of the Williams of Valtteri Bottas.
It was a very quiet session, as most of the teams concentrated on saving tyres for qualifying and the race. Going into today, most of the teams will have had two fresh sets of full wet tyres and one slightly used set from Friday's FP2, as well as four fresh sets of intermediate tyres. Those tyres must last them the rest of the weekend if it stays wet, which made preservation of fresh tyres crucial in FP3.
For the majority of the session, the track was wet enough that full wets were the only sensible tyres to use. Sebastian Vettel set the early pace before returning to the Red Bull garage and sitting out the rest of the session.
The first half of the session saw a fair number of drivers doing short runs or just practice starts before returning to the pits. Max Chilton spent a bit of time getting used to the track, which he had never driven before Friday. Chilton held an impressive slide in turn 4 before carrying on with his run.
Only Esteban Gutierrez covered what might be considered a "normal" amount of running in the session. The Mexican driver covered 21 laps in his Sauber, clearly feeling the need to spend a significant amount of time on track.
When the track dried out enough for intermediate tyres, there was a bit more action on track, and quite a few drivers emerged from the pit lane to acclimatise to the difficult conditions ahead of qualifying. Mark Webber easily set the pace for Red Bull, at one point over 2 seconds faster than the competition. But that was more to do with timing of laps in the conditions than outright pace. The other drivers who had elected to run on the intermediate tyres soon closed the gap to Webber to a reasonable degree.
Four drivers - Fernando Alonso, Felipe Massa, Jenson Button and Friday's pace-setter Nico Rosberg - did not bother to set lap times at all. They were presumably comfortable that they had learned enough about the conditions on their installation laps and no doubt also wanted to save their tyres for qualifying and the race.
Full resutls from FP3:
|1||2||Mark Webber||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:27.891||5|
|9||14||Paul di Resta||Force India-Mercedes||1:29.736||1.845||6|
|10||15||Adrian Sutil||Force India-Mercedes||1:29.913||2.022||8|
|16||21||Giedo van der Garde||Caterham-Renault||1:31.154||3.263||14|
|17||1||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:31.857||3.966||4|
|19||9||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes||No time||4|
|20||3||Fernando Alonso||Ferrari||No time||2|
|21||5||Jenson Button||McLaren-Mercedes||No time||1|
|22||4||Felipe Massa||Ferrari||No time||2|